Security company's loss of EU contract shows penalty of servicing occupation

For previous coverage of G4S see: Boycotting the occupation bites again and The Russell Tribunal – London hearings on corporate complicity, 20-22 November

JfJfP applauds G4S loss of security contract
Press release, JfJfP

G4S, the international security company, has now lost its contract to provide security to the European Parliament. Together with supportive MEPs and activists against Israel’s illegal occupation and violations of international law, Jews for Justice for Palestinians campaigned strongly against the renewal of this contract.

This is because G4S is notorious as a provider of services to the prisons in Israel which house Palestinian political prisoners from the occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Some of the prisoners are administrative detainees, held without charge or trial, or the right to see and test any evidence the occupier may have against them; some are Palestinian children, subject to abuse by the occupying power. The conditions in which these prisoners are kept by their occupiers are so inhumane that four prisoners are now on hunger strike and 1600 are pledged to join them today, April 17th, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

In the light of G4S’ complicity with Israel’s illegal occupation, Jews for Justice for Palestinians were proud to join with other human rights defenders in campaigning against the renewal of the contract with G4S.

Diana Neslen spokesperson for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, stated

“We congratulate the European Union on their decision not to renew the contract with G4S, complicit as the company is with Israel’s belligerent occupation. This decision will be a morale booster for Palestinian prisoners on the internationally recognised Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17th. It will be a message that the world has not forgotten their plight and it is also a message to G4S and other complicit companies that in the end there is no profit in occupation.”

On Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, protest mounts against world’s largest security contractor

By Allison Deger, Mondoweiss

Today Palestinians are marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day with mass hunger strikes protesting Israel’s practice of detaining political prisoners and abusing the rights of all prisoners. Inside of Israel’s detention facilities a reported 1,600 prisoners out of a total 4,700 are on hunger strike. And an additional 2,300 prisoner are refusing all meals. But outside of Israel’s prisons, Palestinians are mounting pressure against a private security contractor by calling for boycotts of the company.

This afternoon protestors gathered at Ofer prison located in the West Bank, where in 2007 the Israel’s prison department subcontracted services to Hashmira, an Israeli subsidiary of the Danish-British company G4S. As the world’s second largest private employer—second to Walmart—G4S is a behemoth. In Israel, G4S services include providing rent-a-cops to settlement grocery stores, and transporting monitoring systems to Israeli prisons, checkpoints and police stations. Due to Hashmira’s ongoing role in serving Israel’s occupation, it is now the target of a newboycott call issued today by 13 Palestinian civil society organizations including Addameer and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC):

In light of this increasing campaign of civil disobedience from within the prisons, we demand accountability for all corporations that both enable and directly profit from Israel’s continued violations of Palestinian prisoners’ rights being committed with impunity. Specifically, we call for action to hold to account G4S, the British-Danish security company whose Israeli subsidiary signed a contract in 2007 with the Israeli Prison Authority to provide security systems for major Israeli prisons. G4S provided systems for the Ketziot and Megiddo prisons, which hold Palestinian political prisoners from occupied Palestinian territory inside Israel in contravention of international law. The company also provided equipment for Ofer prison, located in the occupied West Bank, and for Kishon and Moskobiyyeh detention facilities, at which human rights organizations have documented systematic torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners. G4S continues to provide equipment to Israeli prisons.

Moreover, G4S is involved in other aspects of the Israeli apartheid and occupation regime: it has provided equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank that form part of the route of Israel’s illegal Wall and to the terminals isolating the occupied territory of Gaza. G4S has also signed contracts for equipment and services for the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters and to private businesses based in illegal Israeli settlements. A panel of legal experts concluded that G4S may be criminally liable for its activities in support of Israel’s illegal Wall and other violations of international law.

In 2011 WhoProfits published a report on G4S and Hashmira’s role in the profiting from the occupation. From

The company provided the entire security system of the Ktziot Prison and the central control room that monitors all of the security systems of the Megido Prison. The Ktziot Prison and the Megido Prison are incarceration facilities designated for Palestinian political prisoners. These prisons are both located inside Israel.
The company installed a central control room and a perimeter defense system on the walls of the Ofer Prison. The Ofer Prison is an Israeli prison in the occupied territory for Palestinian political prisoners.

The company also provided security systems for the Kishon (“Al-Jalameh”) and Jerusalem (“Russian Compound”) detention and interrogation facilities. Human rights organizations have collected evidence showing that Palestinian prisoners are regularly subjected to torture in these facilities.

In March 2011, following public pressure in Denmark bolstered by research from WhoProfits, G4S announced they would suspend supplying equipment to Israeli facilities in the West Bank. As a joint British and Danish enterprise, G4S is required to adhere to the legal standards in not only the countries of operation, but also in the U.K. and Denmark. And while Israel does not consider its occupation a violation to the fourth Geneva Convention, Denmark does.

Beyond its work in Israeli prisons, G4S is an international leader in private security.
In the U.S., since 2007 the company deports hundreds over 500,000 people to Mexico annually through a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

G4S loses its contract with the European Parliament
Michael Deas, BDS Movement, by email

The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) is pleased to be able to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day by announcing that the European Union has declined to renew a contract with private security company G4S amidst concerns raised by MEPs and campaign groups about the role the company plays in equipping Israeli prisons in which
Palestinian political prisoners are held in violation of international law.

G4S has provided security services to the buildings of the European Parliament since 2008 but the contract award notice (service contract 118611-2012) published on the EU official tenders’ website on April 13th shows that G4S hast lost its contract with the European Parliament.

In March 2011, a group of 28 Members of the European Parliament, including eight MEPs from Denmark and six from the UK wrote a letter to former EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, demanding that the Parliament dropped G4S as the principal security contractor if G4S continued to provide security services to illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and Israeli prisons at which Palestinians are detained. Their demands were a response to investigations conducted by the Danish NGO DanWatch and a report made by the Israeli research project “Who Profits” which revealed and documented G4S’ implication in illegal activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

With the assistance of lawyers, campaigners from ECCP member organisations also raised the issue with various EU officials, in cooperation with Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Merton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign. G4S held a meeting for MEPs and EU officials in an attempt to deflect the criticisms but failed to provide sufficient guarantees that it would abandon all of its illegal activities.

“The non-renewal of this contract with a company that is deeply complicit with Israeli violations of international law is a vital step towards ensuring that Israel and corporations comply with basic legal standards” said ECCP chairperson Pierre Galand. “We also salute and thank those MEPs that we are pleased to have worked alongside on this effective campaign… “People of conscience across Europe are inspired by the new wave of peaceful resistance by Palestinian prisoners against routine mistreatment, torture and imprisonment without trial.”

Palestinian prisoners’ day this year takes place in the context of inspiring resistance and hunger strikes, including the high profile hunger strikes of Hana Shalabi and Khader Adnan, two Palestinians held by Israel without charge. Palestinian prisoners are set to engage with a new round of civil disobedience. Prisoners’ day is being marked with demonstrations and
activities across Europe.

G4S, the main EU institutions’ security provider, involved in illegal Israeli settlements
By Katarzyna, ECCP, [European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine]

The Israeli research project “Who Profits” has just released a report on G4S, the security company that services the European Parliament.

This report confirms the findings of the London session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, by showing that G4S Israel, owned at 91% by G4S:

1. Is providing security equipment and services to incarceration facilities holding Palestinian political prisoners inside Israel and the occupied West Bank;
2. Is offering security services and security guards to businesses in settlements;
3. Is providing security systems for the Israeli police headquarters in the West Bank;
All of which is illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention.

G4S has also provided equipment and maintenance services to Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, built as part of the Separation Wall which was declared illegal by the ICJ in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004.

Therefore, G4S, by assisting Israel in its violations of international law and international humanitarian law, finds itself complicit in those violations.

However, on 21 January 2011, G4S Belgium was awarded to be the official security provider of the European Commission making it the largest manned security contract in Belgium. G4S will provide a total security solution for 68 buildings in Brussels and its immediate surroundings.

The ECCP asks the Members of the European Parliament to hold G4S accountable for its involvement in Israel and the OPTs, and to consider the possibility to judicially review the EU’s decision to grant contracts to G4S to provide security to the European institutions, in light of G4S’s complicity in Israel’s violations of international law with respect to the settlements and the construction of the Wall.

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