Archive for June, 2009

Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign

Posted in International BDS Actions on June 30, 2009 by Marcy Newman

CityPass and the Jerusalem Light-Rail Project

In 2002, the CityPass consortium won a tender put out by the Israeli authorities for a light rail transportation project worth around 500 million Euros. This light rail system would link with settlements in the Occupied West Bank. The path of the light rail follows the Apartheid Wall and incorporates a number of Jewish settlements around East Jerusalem that are built on stolen Palestinian land. It will ensure the contiguity of these settlements into the central areas of Jerusalem and provide them with a vital transport link.The project plays a key role in sustaining the settlements and ensuring they became a permanent fixture upon Palestinian land, while at the same time maintaining a system of Apartheid that isolates Palestinians and limits their mobility.

The project, a private-public partnership PPP between the Israeli Occupation government and the consortium, is hinged upon the willingness of international business groups to provide a huge injection of capital. In turn these companies will reap significant profits and dividends over a thirty-year period.

The Light-Rail Project and International Law

Geneva Conventions

The building of settlements and the Apartheid Wall in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank violates international law. Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention provides that: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” – all settlements in the West Bank are by definition illegal. The Wall currently under construction in the West Bank was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice, which in 2004 called for it to be dismantled. The light railway project violates international law not only because it is built on occupied Palestinian land, but also because it is an extension of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and the Apartheid Wall.

Colonialism and Apartheid

A recent report, entitled Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law conducted by The Middle East Project of the Democracy and Governance Programme, Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa found that Israeli policy and activities in Occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip violate the international prohibitions of colonialism and apartheid. The Wall and settlements are cited as key components of Israel’s apartheid and colonial system. This report explicitly states “Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is manifestly an act based on colonial intent. It is unlawful in itself, as annexation breaches the principle underpinning the law of occupation: that occupation is only a temporary situation that does not vest sovereignty in the Occupying Power. The light rail project is vital to the Israeli colonial annexation of East Jerusalem because it provides infrastructure to settlements which further ensures that they become a permanent fixture on Palestinian land.

Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign

The CityPass consortium responsible for the light rail project includes two French companies: Veolia and Alstom. There is a global campaign to boycott these companies until they withdraw from this project and bring their business practices in line with international law.

Veolia

Veolia’s parent company is Veolia Environnement, a large French multinational. Veolia is made up of several subsidiaries that work within the transportation and waste management industries. Connex, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium. Veolia also provides transportation services between Jerusalem and settlements, and its waste management services are involved in illegally dumping waste from settlements in the Tovlan landfill in the Jordan valley.

Alstom

Alstom is a multinational corporation that specializes in both energy technologies and the transportation sector. In addition to building the light-rail system, they also work within the Israeli energy sector and have recently placed several bids for contracts with the Israel Electric Co.

Victories in the Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign

To date, Veolia has lost an estimated 7 billion dollars in contracts due to the campaign. Some key victories include:

June 2009: In response to the Dump Connex campaign, the City of Melbourne, Australia has stripped Connex of their contract to run Melbourne’s trams and Hong Kong’s MTR. More information

June 2009: Reports indicate that Veolia is withdrawing from the light rail project, but this has not been confirmed. Alstom remains involved in the project. Despite this apparent victory, the campaign will continue until the light-rail project has been defeated completely. More information

June 2009: Following pressure from the Boycott National Committee (BNC), the city of Tehran announces that Veolia will be excluded from bidding for key contracts in the city’s transportation services. More information

April 2009: Galway, Ireland City Council votes not to renew Veolia’s contract to operate the city’s underground transport system. More information

April 2009: A French Court agreed to hear the case that launched against Veolia and Alstom by Association France-Palestine Solidarité and the PLO in 2007. This case could set precedence for taking legal actions against corporations in their home countries for international law violations they commit in Palestine. More information

April 2009: Veolia loses a contact worth 750 million Euros in Bordeaux, France. More information

March 2009: The Swedish National Pension fund divests from Alstom. More information

January 2009: Veolia loses 4.5 billion dollar contract to run the subway in Stockholm, Sweden. More information

November 2006:ASN, a Dutch bank, breaks off financial relations with Veolia. More information

August 2006: Irish Trade Union forces Veolia to cancel plans to train Israeli drivers and engineers in Ireland. They were to be trained on the Dublin Luas, a railway line in Ireland that is nearly identical to the one being constructed in Jerusalem. More information

On-Going Campaigns and Targets

The campaign against Veolia has seen significant victories and continues to gain momentum. It is time to put increased pressure on Alstom as well.

The key to organizing successful local campaigns is finding contracts that are up for renewal and/or new contracts that these companies are likely to bid on. It is at these key times that pressure for boycott can and should be applied. Some research has already been done into Alstom and Veolia’s inset link here contracts worldwide, but the campaign relies on local research to discover boycott and divestment targets in your area.

How to find local Veolia and Alstom targets

A good place to start is a google search with the name of your city/state/province/country and ‘Alstom’ or ‘Veolia’. You can also go to the company’s website (Alstom and Veolia) search for your city/state/province/country. The sites often include country specific links which are especially helpful. Both of these searches should give you information about existing contracts and their expiry dates, as well as information about bids that these companies have put in for contracts in your area. You should also do internet searches for news of bids for contracts in transportation, water and waste management in your local area. These are the key sectors in which these companies operate.

Students can conduct research into the investments and sponsorships of their universities and colleges. If a school invests in or profits from these companies, a divestment campaign can put pressure on the administration to break these ties. Trade unions can do similar research about the pension plans and other investments of their employers in order to find divestment targets.

Useful Links

Australian Dump Connex Website

UK Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign Website

Factsheet when completed

Author Naomi Klein in Bil’in: Boycott Israel

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on June 30, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Bil’in – Ma’an – Canadian author Naomi Klein called for an international boycott of Israel during a visit to the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday, where she also attended a weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation wall.

Klein held a news conference in Bil’in, which is known for its tenacious demonstrations against the Israeli barrier, on the first of her nine days in the region, where she is promoting a recent translation of her book, the Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

“When we hear about what happens at the demonstrations… When people are killed and badly injured in lawful demonstrations against something that is clearly illegal, that isn’t a normal situation,” she said.

“We’re rejecting normalization,” Klein said of her Middle East visit, “We’re rejecting the idea that there can be apolitical cocktail parties and book signings while violence like this is taking place so nearby.”

The news conference took place under the shade of an olive tree, in full view of patrolling Israeli forces, the separation barrier, and an Israeli settlement. Afterwards, 200 chanting Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched on the fence. Israeli soldiers rained tear gas on the marchers.

Teenagers hurled stones back at the soldiers amid black smoke from burning tires. Choking on gas, two men had to be helped into an ambulance, and medics administered aid to dozens of protesters. Klein herself watched from a safe distance.

As a part of her push for a boycott, Klein is donating the royalties her the book to her local publisher, Andalus, which specializes in translating Arabic texts into Hebrew. She is also working closely with Palestine’s Boycott National Committee (BNC), and refusing to cooperate with Israeli state institutions during what she called an “unusual book tour.”

“We very much believe that culture is political and that cultural producers should use their skills in order to highlight the resistance to occupation and to strengthen that resistance,” she said, speaking alongside Basel Mansour, a member of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall, and attorney Wisam Ahmad of the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq.

Klein said she was compelled to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement during the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006. “I’m actually ashamed that it took me as long as it took me,” she said.

“We’re hoping the book will be a success, and No Logo was a success here in Israel. That will largely depend on whether Israelis decide to boycott me,” the author said, referring to a previous bestselling work. “We’re very aware that that’s a real possibility, but we feel that we’re calling their bluff.”

“It’s a boycott of Israeli institutions. It’s a boycott of the economy,” Klein said. “It’s an extraordinarily important part of Israel’s identity to be able to have the illusion of Western normalcy.”

“When that is threatened, when the rock concerts don’t come, when the symphonies don’t come, when a film you really want to see doesn’t play at the Jerusalem film festival because the people who made the film decided not to come then it starts to threaten the very idea of what the Israeli state is,” she also said.

Klein said the boycott campaign is “trying to create a dynamic which was the dynamic that ultimately ended Apartheid in South Africa.” She added that while there are aspects of the situation in Palestine that are not as severe as they were under Aparthied in South Africa, “On the other hand, the South African state never bombed Soweto.”

Bil’in, which is losing more than half its land to the wall and Israeli settlements, is also pursuing legal action against two Canadian companies, Green Park International and Green Mount International, for their involvement in the illegal construction of the colonies. A preliminary hearing on the case began in a Quebec court earlier this week.

“Really, what this court case is doing in Canada is breaking through the propaganda barrier,” said the Canadian author. “We hear all the time in our corporate media, which is a very pro-Israeli media, that this is the only democracy in the region. And yet, this court case has become a way to put that claim on trial.”

Australian Groups Endorsing BDS

Posted in International BDS Actions on June 30, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Below is a list of Australian based unions and groups that are now endorsing the BDS campaign

CFMEU – Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union

NSW Branch

http://www.cfmeu-construction-nsw.com.au/

Maritime Union of Australia

Western Australia Branch, Delegates Meeting

University of Western Sydney Students Association
www.uwssa.org.au

Australians for Palestine
www.australiansforpalestine.com

Committee for the Dismantling of Zionism
Australia

Just Peace Queensland
www.justpeaceqld.org

Justice for Palestine

Brisbane
www.justiceforpalestinebrisbane.org

Women for Palestine
www.womenforpalestine.org

Australia

Melbourne dumps Connex following boycott campaign

Posted in International BDS Actions on June 30, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Press release, Australians for Peace, 28 June 2009

The following press release was issued by Australians for Peace on 25 June 2009:

Connex has been dumped by the Victorian State Government as Melbourne’s train system operator. Moammar Mashni of Australians for Palestine said that after four months of campaigning and some 100,000 pamphlets distributed, Palestine advocacy groups can take heart.

“This is the first step in what we hope will become a strong boycotts, divestments and sanctions movement (BDS) in Australia against Israel’s apartheid policies,” Mashni said. “Our boycott pamphlet asked people to send a detachable petition to Minister Kosky and we understand that thousands have landed on her desk.”

The Dump Connex campaign had been run to alert Melbourne’s commuters to the unethical agreement that Connex had entered into with Israel. Under the contract, Connex had agreed to operate a public transport service to Jewish settlements that Israel is continuing to build deep inside the occupied West Bank in defiance of international law.

“However,” said Mashni, “Connex may be losing on that score as well. Only recently, its parent company Veolia announced that it would be seeking to pull out of its contract with Israel to build the Jerusalem light rail, due to some $7 billion worth of losses. There is no doubt that the BDS campaigns run by Palestine solidarity groups in Europe had a lot to do with that.”

These worldwide boycotts have become necessary as Israel continues to ignore calls to halt its illegal settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“They are,” said Mashni, “nonviolent actions that were shown to be most effective in ending apartheid rule in South Africa and Australia can expect to see many more such actions being taken against companies doing business with Israel.”

Naomi Klein speaks on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions in Bil’in, Palestine

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Cultural Boycott on June 30, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Prior to the demonstration a press conference took place, where a representative of the village’s popular committee, a member of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and world renowned Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke of the local struggle, of the village’s new court case in Canada against Canadian companies building the new neighborhoods on Bil’in land, on the boycott, and of the inability to detach art and politics.

Author Naomi Klein calls for boycott of Israel

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on June 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

BILIN , West Bank (AFP) — Bestselling author Naomi Klein on Friday took her call for a boycott of Israel to the occupied West Bank village of Bilin, where she witnessed Israeli forces clashing with protesters.

“It’s a boycott of Israeli institutions, it’s a boycott of the Israeli economy,” the Canadian writer told journalists as she joined a weekly demonstration against Israel’s controversial separation wall.

“Boycott is a tactic … we’re trying to create a dynamic which was the dynamic that ultimately ended apartheid in South Africa,” said Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

“It’s an extraordinarily important part of Israel’s identity to be able to have the illusion of Western normalcy,” the Canadian writer and activist said.

“When that is threatened, when the rock concerts don’t come, when the symphonies don’t come, when a film you really want to see doesn’t play at the Jerusalem film festival… then it starts to threaten the very idea of what the Israeli state is.”

She briefly joined about 200 villagers and foreign activists protesting the barrier which Israel says it needs to prevent attacks, but which Palestinians say aims at grabbing their land and undermining the viability of their promised state.

She then watched from a safe distance as the protesters reached the fence, where Israeli forces fired teargas and some youths responded by throwing stones at the army.

“This apartheid, this is absolutely a system of segregation,” Klein said adding that Israeli troops would never crack down as violently against Jewish protesters.

She pointed out that her visit coincided with court hearings in Quebec in a case where the villagers of Bilin are suing two Canadian companies, accusing them of illegally building and selling homes to Israelis on land that belongs to the village.

The plaintiffs claim that by building in the Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit, near Bilin, Green Park International and Green Mount International are in violation of international laws that prohibit an occupying power from transferring some of its population to the lands it occupies.

“I’m hoping and praying that Canadian courts will bring some justice to the people of Bilin,” Klein said.

Her visit was also part of a promotional tour in Israel and the West Bank for “The Shock Doctrine” which has recently been translated into Hebrew and Arabic. Klein said she would get no royalties from sales of the Hebrew version and that the proceeds would go instead to an activist group.

French activists protest Paris air show

Posted in International BDS Actions on June 25, 2009 by Marcy Newman

A group of French activists from the BDS France campaign held a non- violent protest against the Israeli presence at the Paris – Le Bourget Air Show. Le Bourget Air Show is one of the largest weapons and aerospace technology fairs in the world. The protest took place outside the Israeli pavilion, where several Israeli arms companies had come to sell their military technologies to potential European buyers.

On 20 June, protesters gathered under the banner ‘Boycott Israel’. They denounced the sale of weapons and weapon components to Israel on the basis that they are used to commit war crimes against civilians. They also exposed French complicity in these war crimes, pointing out that components marked “made in France” were found in the wreckage of missiles used to commit war crimes during the attack on Gaza in early 2009. Further, Israeli firms test their products on Palestinians before exporting them to the international market. The arms trade allows these these companies to profit from war crimes, and as such protestors demanded an end to such business links. The protesters also denounced the presence of Israeli war criminals at the air show, demanding that war criminals be tried and punished, not welcomed by the French state.

The action took place while French president Nicolas Sarkozy was visiting the air show. Although some protesters were forcibly removed by police, the demonstration had great visibility and several thousands of informational leaflets were distributed to the public.

US activists de-shelve Israeli products from national grocer

Posted in International BDS Actions on June 24, 2009 by Marcy Newman

090624-trader-joes

Press release, Don’t Buy Into Apartheid, QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism), South Bay Mobilization and BDS BayArea, 23 June 2009

On Saturday, 20 June, activists gathered at Trader Joe’s in Oakland and San Francisco, US to demand that the company stop carrying Israeli goods.

Protesters removed Israeli products from the shelves in order to show customers which products they should not buy. They also met with the store managers and asked them to notify their headquarters that they no longer wanted to carry Israeli herbs, couscous and cheese. Similar actions were held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; and Sacramento, California. The activists were inspired by campaigns to de-shelve Israeli products in Wales and France.

“Trader Joe’s is a company with an excellent reputation for bringing a diverse array of high-quality foods from around the world to US consumers. As Trader Joe’s consumers, we are part of a growing movement of people globally who are calling on businesses to be consistent in following ethical business practices,” said Yasmin Qureshi, an organizer of the Don’t Buy Into Apartheid national network.

The group chose 20 June for its kickoff action because it is World Refugee Day, a day recognized worldwide to spotlight refugees displaced by war and persecution. Of the 11 million refugees in the world today, over seven million are Palestinian refugees displaced as a direct result of the founding of the State of Israel, many displaced for more than 60 years. It is for this reason that Don’t Buy Into Apartheid calls on to Trader Joe’s to discontinue the sales of Israeli Couscous, Dorot frozen herbs, as well as Pastures of Eden Feta cheese.

“Consumer boycotts played an important role in bringing about the end of apartheid in South Africa,” said Sunaina Maira, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at University of California-Davis. “Corporations with ethical business practices can stop funding injustice and occupation by refusing to sell products made in states that enact racial discrimination and violations of human rights law, such as Israel. The State of Israel was created in 1948 through policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and still continues to violate countless United Nations resolutions. Consumer boycotts are an effective, nonviolent strategy to pressure states to comply with international law.”

The manager at one Trader Joe’s told the activists, “If you convince our customers to stop buying these products, we will stop carrying them.” The group handed out coupons for customers to give to the cashiers asking the store to stop carrying Israeli products.

In 2005, a broad coalition of Palestinian groups issued a call for the international community to place boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel based on its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and discriminatory laws.

Don’t Buy Into Apartheid’s letter to Trader Joe’s was signed by more than 35 organizations and 135 individuals. The campaign has gained more than 600 members in one month. Trader Joe’s will join them in supporting social justice and racial equality by removing Israeli products from its shelves until Israel agrees to cooperate fully with international law.

Africa-Israel under scrutiny for settlement construction

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on June 22, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 22 June 2009

Africa-Israel is the latest target of a boycott campaign by Palestine solidarity activists because of the company’s involvement in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. American and European financial institutions hold a substantial stake in Africa-Israel Investment, investigations reveal.

Africa-Israel Investment is an international holding and investment company based in Israel whose subsidiary, Danya Cebus, has been deeply involved in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). According to research by the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, the company executed construction projects in the Israeli settlements of Modi’in Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa and Adam. In addition, Africa-Israel offers apartments and houses in various settlements in the West Bank through the Israeli franchise of its real estate agency, Anglo Saxon, which has a branch in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

Diamond mogul Lev Leviev is Chairman of the Africa-Israel Investment Board of Directors, and holds roughly 75 percent of the company. On 8 March, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Lev Leviev does not have a problem with building in the OPT “if the State of Israel grants permits legally.”

Leviev and his brother-in-law Daviv Eliashov own the company Leader Management and Development (LMD). According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, LMD requested and was granted approval to expand the Zufim settlement with approximately 1,400 housing units. The company has begun construction and in the process, orchards and agricultural lands belonging to the Palestinian village of Jayyus have been bulldozed, and their water wells and greenhouses confiscated.

Israeli settlements in the OPT are illegal under international law. This has been confirmed by numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the West Bank. The settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The construction of settlements also violates of Article 53 prohibiting the destruction of property.

Recently, the Norwegian State Pension Fund came under pressure after Norwegian watchdog Norwatch revealed the pension fund had invested $850,000 in Africa-Israel Investment Ltd. According to the research of the authoritative financial source Capital IQ, with its investment, the Norwegian State Pension Fund became the fifth-largest investor in the company. Prior to a visit to the pension fund’s ethics committee, a delegation of the Norwegian Socialist Left Party traveled to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to learn about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In a 15 May interview with the Ma’an News Agency, the party’s parliamentarian and spokesperson on foreign affairs, Aringgot Valle, stated that “No doubt we as a party cannot support investment in a company that violates human rights, contributes to an occupation and war.” Valle added that if the Norwegian State Pension Fund considers investing in Africa-Israel “then the ethics guidelines must be re-written.”

Norwatch also revealed that private Norwegian banks were involved in Africa-Israel. Banks offered customers the possibility to invest in BlackRock Emerging Europe Fund (EEF), which invests in Africa-Israel.

One of these Norwegian banks, Storebrand made clear to BlackRock that its investments in Africa-Israel are in contradiction with its ethical guidelines during meetings with the company in April and May. However, Christine Torklep Meisingset, head of Responsible Investments at Storebrand, told The Electronic Intifada that the bank decided not to divest from BlackRock EEF. Although she would not provide any information on the discussion, she indicated that Storebrand considered BlackRock’s response satisfactory. However, BlackRock refuses to comment publicly on the discussions.

On 12 June, BlackRock announced its purchase of Barclays Global Investors, a subsidiary of Barclays Bank. Capital IQ lists Barclays Global Fund Advisors as the second-largest investor in Africa-Israel Investments after Lev Leviev. Based on Capital IQ’s most recent information for this year, BlackRock is mentioned as the seventh-largest holder of Africa-Israel shares. After purchasing Barclays, BlackRock is now the second-largest investor in the company after Leviev.

The fourth-largest investor is the Vanguard Group. Vanguard has been the target of a campaign calling for divesting from companies investing in Sudan, because of companies’ alleged complicity in the genocide in Darfur. In sixth place is the US Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund. According to Capital IQ, rounding out the top 10 investors in Africa-Israel are Danish fund managers Investeringsforeningen Sydinvest and Swedish AP 1 pension fund, which are the eighth- and tenth-largest, respectively.

As corporations that abet or profit from Israel’s human rights violations come under further scrutiny, financial institutions and their investors face increasing pressure to drop these companies from their portfolios. Most recently, the Swedish pension fund AP7 excluded the French transportation compny Alstom because of its involvement in the Israeli tramway project that runs on Palestinian land, and the Belgian-French financial group Dexia announced it will no longer finance illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.

DCI/PS welcomes UNICEF’s rejection of Leviev support

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on June 18, 2009 by Marcy Newman

[RAMALLAH, 21 June 2008] – DCI-Palestine welcomes UNICEF’s decision to reject any further support offered by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev, who owns companies that are responsible for building housing units in several settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), in contravention of international humanitarian law.

Lev Leviev sponsored fundraising events for UNICEF in 2007, while actively promoting the construction in the occupied West Bank of settlements which are not only illegal but also have a profound negative impact on the lives of Palestinian children. Several international and Palestinian groups working to protect Palestinian human rights, spearheaded by New York-based Adalah-NY–The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, had therefore been calling for UNICEF to publicly renounce connections with Leviev and to stop accepting any kind of support from his companies.

DCI-Palestine played an active role in raising this issue with UNICEF: we sent a letter of concern to UNICEF New York headquarters in April, organised meetings with the UNICEF-oPt Country Representative, and met with the UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in May. In addition, DCI-Palestine and the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign coordinated a field visit of UNICEF officials to Jayyous, a Palestinian village which has been severely impacted by the construction of a settlement supported by one of Leviev’s companies.

On Thursday 19 June, a letter to Adalah-NY from the senior communications advisor to UNICEF’s Executive Director, stated: “Yesterday we confirmed that UNICEF has concluded that it will not consider partnerships – direct or indirect – with Mr. Lev Leviev or any of his corporate entities, and will not accept financial or other support that we know is from him or his corporate entities.” (Further information in the Adalah-NY press release)

DCI-Palestine welcomes this decision, and would like to thank Adalah-NY and all the other groups who have worked together to achieve this important step towards improving accountability to principles of international humanitarian and human rights law. We also want to thank residents of the West Bank villages Bil’in and Jayyous, whose children directly suffer from the consequences of settlement and settlement building activities. The presence of Israeli settlements and settlers in the West Bank has a devastating impact on the lives of Palestinian children and adults living nearby. A forthcoming DCI-Palestine violation report will highlight the recent increase in settler attacks against Palestinian children.

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