Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Divesting in Israel

 

Bill Gates Foundation sells shares in Israeli prison contractor G4S

The Bill Gates Foundation appears to have responded to activist pressure over its investment in Israeli prison contractor G4S by selling some, if not all, of its shares in the company.

Stock exchange filings published yesterday show that the foundation’s stake has dropped below the 3 percent threshold above which holdings must be declared.

It is not known how many shares, if any, the Gates Foundation continues to hold, although that should become clear in the next few months when more detailed filings will be published.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a 3.17 percent stake in G4S for £110 million ($184 million) in June 2013, a move opposed by Palestinian and international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) groups due to the role that G4S plays in helping Israel run its prison system.

G4S has a contract with the Israeli Prison Service to supply and run security and management systems at six prisons where Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are routinely tortured.

In April, protests were held at the at Gates Foundation offices in London, Johannesburg and Seattle. A petition signed by more than 14,000 people called on the the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S because of its role in Israel’s prison service.

A statement signed by more than twenty Palestinian organizations and 130 international groups argued that its holdings in G4S meant that the Gates Foundation “is legitimizing and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.”

“Pressure is starting to work”

“We are glad the pressure on the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S is starting to work. We urge the foundation to sell any remaining shares it still holds and release a public statement pledging not to invest in corporations profiting from Israel’s military occupation,” said Rafeef Ziadah, a campaigner with the British anti-poverty group War on Want and the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

G4S has already lost contracts worth millions of dollars. Trade unions, universities and other public bodies in Europe and South Africa have canceled many contracts with G4S over concerns about the firm’s role in Israel’s prison system.

Protests will take place outside the G4S shareholders meeting next Thursday (5 June), as they have the previous two years.

Gavan Kelly, advocacy director at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner support and advocacy organization, said that the ongoing hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners underlined why the Gates Foundation’s investment appeared so outrageous.

“More than 125 Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike after more than 35 days to protest their detention without trial. It’s clear that G4S’s involvement in Israel’s prison system is incompatible with the Gates Foundation’s stated commitment to human rights and equality,” he said.

Harsh punishment

According to Addameer, more than 125 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike on 24 April to protest being held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial where prisoners are not allowed to see the “evidence” held against them.

Visiting restrictions make it difficult to get exact figures but it is thought that the hunger strikes have since escalated and may now involve up to two hundred prisoners. The hunger strikes have now reached a critical moment as many prisoners have now gone 35 days without food.

More than 40 hunger strikers were yesterday transferred to a hospital due to their deteriorating health. Israel has responded to the continuation of the hunger strikes with harsh punishments, including isolating the hunger strikers from the rest of the prison population, the denial of family visits for four months, daily searches and beatings and restrictions on access to legal counsel.

A video from Addameer details the role that G4S plays in Israel’s abhorrent prison system:

Part 2. Pink Floyd Roger Waters on: Divesting in Israel

 

Roger Waters of the British band Pink Floyd wrote on July 2 under “Divest in Israel: Presbyterians should support Palestinian aspirations”:

“I applaud the Presbyterian initiative assembled in Pittsburgh . In fact, I support the more wide-ranging BDS campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and have called on my fellow musicians to follow suit, just as we did in opposition to apartheid South Africa.

In 2005, 26 years after I wrote “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” Palestinian children protesting Israel’s apartheid wall sang, “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!”

My original song was banned in apartheid South Africa because black South African children sang it to advocate for their right to equal education. In the West Bank, the children who protest the wall and sing my song face tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and even live ammunition.

I made my first trip to Israel and the West Bank in 2006. What I witnessed there shocked me to the core. The Israeli wall (the Wall of Shame) in the occupied West Bank is an appalling edifice, cutting farmers from farmland, family from family and children from schools and hospitals.

The standard Israeli response to criticism of the wall is that it is solely for defense. If that is the case, why was it not built on the Green Line (the internationally agreed demarcation after the Six-Day War of 1967)?

Why does this Wall snake through Palestinian land, as Israel grabs more and more land each year for illegal, segregated, Jews-only settlements?

No, this is not solely a defensive measure, this is a systematic colonization of conquered territory that contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and was declared illegal in an advisory but unequivocal judgment by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2004.

In light of the above and despite attempts to intimidate and vilify me by Israel lobby groups in the United States and elsewhere, I stand in solidarity not only with the Palestinian people but also with the many thousands of Israelis who, believing their government’s racist policies to be wrong, are increasingly making their voices heard.

What courageous and beautiful voices they are.

The waters of this debate will inevitably be muddied, as they always are, by erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism leveled at those who favor selective divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s long record of human rights violations.

I urge the Presbyterians assembled in Pittsburgh not to be intimidated, but to stand confident with the support of people of conscience everywhere, including tens of thousands of Jewish Americans who support divestment as an ethical obligation to end complicity in the occupation.

I urge Presbyterians to adopt their selective divestment motion to make the price of collusion in human rights violations higher, and to send a message of hope to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Good faith attempts to peacefully bring pressure on Israel to change its policies are no more anti-Semitic than similar actions against the South African apartheid regime were anti-Christian or anti-white.

In solidarity with Palestinian civil society and the nonviolent resistance movement in Israel itself, those of us involved in the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom, including supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law, will ignore the increasingly strident slanders of the Israel lobby and continue our nonviolent campaign.

This is what solidarity and compassion look like. This is how we will win against injustice.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/divest-in-israel-presbyterians-should-support-palestinian-aspirations-642882/#ixzz1zdZJ30qX

Note: Israel has erected high walls all around its supposed borders in order to prevent the Israeli citizens from seeing their “enemies”, the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Egyptians… A typical Ashkenazi ghetto mentality inherited from the European colonial period…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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