Swedish Civil Society Launch “IKEA, Don’t buy into occupation!” Campaign
Swedish Radio has revealed that IKEA delivers furniture to illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, despite the fact that these settlements are illegal according to international law. Thus IKEA has no problem with delivering furniture to the area, as long as the furniture goes to illegal settlers and not to Palestinians.
In a comment, IKEA’s information manager in Sweden says:”IKEA is for the many people, regardless of in which country IKEA acts. IKEA stores have existed in Israel for the many people since 2001. All customers are welcome to IKEA stores in Israel, regardless of where they live and without discrimination based on religion, race or other issues and we want all to be able to get their IKEA furniture. (…) IKEA customers can choose to take the products home themselves or to use a delivery company.”
Palestinians in the West Bank are unable to reach IKEA stores because their freedom of movement is restricted by an occupying power that, among other things, has built a wall to make sure that Palestinians cannot enter Israel. 80 percent of this wall is built on Palestinian land and is illegal according to an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice in 2004. When IKEA refers to practical difficulties in delivering to Palestinian areas, they make themselves complicit in upholding a system that is defined as illegal by ICJ. However, the problem is not mainly that IKEA does not deliver to the Palestinian areas – the first priority for Palestinians is not to buy IKEA furniture but to secure their human rights. A more serious problem is that IKEA delivers to the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. The settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the Occupying Power from deporting or transferring parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies, and cannot be regarded as part of the state of Israel. Delivering furniture to the settlers means using roads exclusively reserved for Jews, for the comfort of settlers who live on stolen Palestinian land. IKEA thereby gives legitimacy to the dual system – called apartheid by many – operated by the Israeli government which through a number of measures, including thirty laws that give privileges to Jews over non-Jews, discriminates against the Palestinians in the occupied territories and Israel’s Palestinian citizens. If the connotations of this are not obvious to IKEA, the company should at least take into consideration the serious breaches of international law that this policy entails.
IKEA’s ignorance regarding the realities of Israel/Palestine is astonishing. It is certainly worrying that a company with IKEA’s turnover and global presence is so unaware of the actual conditions in the areas where it operates. We attach to this letter a map that displays the borders of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as recognized by the UN. IKEA should make sure that this map is used instead of the one that IKEA stores in Israel are currently displaying, in which the occupied West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights are included in Israel, and in which the Palestinian East Jerusalem is not marked.
The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden calls on IKEA to immediately stop deliveries to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. By delivering furniture to illegal Israeli settlements, IKEA respects neither international law, UN’s Global Compact nor the guidelines of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. IKEA is thereby complicit in sustaining and legitimizing Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.