Gaza 2009: De-Osloizing the Palestinian Mind

March 13, 2009 By Dr. Haidar Eid

One of the most important outcomes of the Gaza massacre (2009) has been the unprecedented tremendous outpouring of popular support for the Palestinian cause; something the signatories of the Oslo accords (1993) must have not been happy with. The return of the pre-Oslo slogans of liberation, as opposed to independence, have, undoubtedly, created a new dilemma, not only for Oslo political elites, but also for the NGOized, Stalinist Left.

The process of “Osloization”i.e, a combination of corruption, Ngoization, and a selling-out of revolutionary principles and sloganeering, fused with the fiction of the two-prison solution, has been dealt a heavy blow in the 2006 elections. Judging from statements made, not only by PA officials, but also by the Left, and even the Hamas government, the ultimate goal of the current river of blood has become the establishment of a Palestinian state in any dimension, i.e. the two-state solution. The contradiction between the tremendous international support, the revival of the BDS campaign, the outpouring of demos against Apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, and the reiteration, by most political orgs, of the two state mantra is a strong indication of the need for an alternative program that makes the De-Osloization of Palestine its first priority.

In order to understand the Oslo Accords and the extreme damage they have caused to the Palestinian cause, one needs a historical contextualization of the so called “peace process”, or rather what many critical thinkers have called the peace industry. This understanding is a necessary step towards a process of De-Osloization, a term I will get back to at a later stage.

The Oslo accord was claimed to be the first step towards self-determination and an independent state. But it is clear now, 16 years after the famous hand shake on the White House lawn, that no state in the short run will be established because of the mere fact that Oslo simply ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people. In other words, these accords have offered Zionism what it has always been striving for. Golda Meir’s infamous statement that there are no Palestinians is a case in point here.

And yet, to claim that ‘Oslo’ and ‘Camp David’ were great missed opportunities and ‘breakthrough’, and that the so-called ‘peace process’ was in track until the Palestinians (i.e. colonized victims) blew it is a deliberate ideological distortion of reality claimed in order to prepare Palestinians for more concessions. Real comprehensive peace was not created in Oslo and Washington; rather what was created is an American/Israeli plan to resolve the conflict after the destruction of Iraq and the collapse of the Soviet Union and their attempt to construct a “new Middle East”—to use Condoleeza Rice’s words–a Middle East characterized by imperialist-Zionist hegemony and supported by despotic regimes. The Oslo accord was born dead because it did not guarantee the minimum national and political rights of 10 million Palestinian. As long as there are refugees, cantons, detainees, blockade, settlements, ‘legal torture’ of prisoners, dispossession, assassinations and occupation, comprehensive peace cannot be achieved. It is an illusion in the minds of those who signed the Oslo accords.

These accords have led to the creation of a limited “administrative autonomy” in the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. The local population was given “the right” to form an authority that they could call “national.” Now the question is what makes the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) beyond questioning? What is the ‘legitimate’ ground upon which it was established? Very simple: The Oslo Accords. It has now become very obvious that despite the famous hand shakes on the White house lawn and in Annaplois, and the optimistic talk of the ‘New Middle East,’ these accords, in contradistinction with UN and Security Council resolutions, have not guaranteed the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, or the return of the refugees, nor even the demolishment of the Jewish settlements, and compensation for those Palestinians who have lost—and still losing—their homes, lands and properties; nor the release of all political prisoners, or the opening of all checkpoints, which have become daily nightmares for residents of the WB and GS; …etc. In spite of all the hand shakes, kisses, and friendly press conferences, Israel launched one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the conflict against the civilian population of Gaza, killing in 22 days more than 1400 people, including 438 children, 120 women, 95 old people, 16 medics, 5 journalists, 5 foreign women, and in which it destroyed more than 40.000 institutions and houses, leaving many families homeless. That, of course, was not mentioned as an objective of the Oslo Accords, but nothing either was mentioned in them that would prevent such bloodletting from taking place.

This is the political reality that Palestinian officials who signed the agreement do not like to be reminded of. In fact, what has been created in parts of Gaza and the West Bank is a very strange entity—an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. Gaza 2009, therefore, is the mirror-image of Oslo. When we bear in mind that 75-80% of Gazans are refugees, the results of 2006 elections become more comprehensible not only in its anti-colonial context, but also in socio-political terms. What Oslo has created in Gaza, and the West Bank for that matter, is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, a Third Worldish military court (commended by the Clinton administration), corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.

By winning the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars, and by getting international, Arab and Palestinian recognition, Israel–as an Apartheid settler-colonial state—has hoped to move into a new stage; a stage that requires the formation of ‘new consciousness’ amongst colonized Palestinians. Herein lies the danger of Oslo; Osloization, within this neo-Zionist context, means the creation of a new paradigm through which you wash out the consciousness of your supposed enemy-the ‘Other’-and replace it with a one-dimensional mentality, through the construction of a fiction (two states for two peoples) whose end is unattainable. Even the fascist Lieberman has started singing the same song.

Put differently, to aim at creating the two-state Palestinian is to aim at creating false consciousness led by assimilated intelligentsia, some of whom have a revolutionary past record. Singing the slogans of “the two state solution,” “two states for two peoples,” “return to the 1967 borders,”–or even “a long-term Hudna” (as proposed by Hamas) — is intended to guarantee the subordination and conformity of the Palestinians, especially those with revolutionary ideas. Gone are the right of return of 6 million refugees and their compensation, and the national and cultural rights of the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

This goal, however, never sees the antithesis it creates as a result of displacement, exploitation, and oppression; it ignores the revolutionary consciousness that has been formulated throughout the different phases of the Palestinian struggle. Nor does it take into account the legacy of civil and political resistance that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. Hence the necessity of the formulation of Palestinian alternative politics. To be conscious of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and of the huge class gape that the Oslo Accords have created has definitely been the beginning of De-Osloization represented in the Al-Aqsa uprising and the outcome of the 2006 elections. This is an oppositional consciousness that the signatories of Oslo did not take into account. Both events represent an outright rejection of the Oslo Accords and their consequences.

The Gaza Strip, however, is seen by the PA as one of three building blocks of an independent state, although it is geographically separated from the second block, i.e. the West Bank. The third block is, Jerusalem, is under total Israeli control. None of the Palestinians in the occupied territories believe that the ‘semi-autonomous’ zones in the GS and the WB -that is, the ones that fall under category A—can lay the foundation for an independent state. What Oslo has led to is, in fact, a South Africa. When black South Africans needed to move from their townships to big ‘white’ cities, they needed to get a ‘pass’. During ‘peace time,’ Palestinians, not only those who work in Israel, but also those who wanted to visit the WB form Gaza, or vice versa, needed to apply for a ‘permit’. Beside the permit, Palestinians needed a so-called ‘magnetic card,’ which is a computer card that has a password to its holder’s security file. No one could work in Israel, or visit the WB, or even go to a hospital inside the ‘green line’ without a ‘permit’ and a ‘magnetic card’. If one was granted such invaluable cards, one was still not allowed to visit any other area except the one s/he was entitled to visit. If one was ‘caught’ at another area, one’s permit and card were confiscated immediately, not to mention the torture one was exposed to. Nowadays, no one is even given such luxurious ‘permits’ and cards. How was apartheid South Africa different?

The tribal chiefs of the South African Bantustans used to believe that they were the heads of independent states. Luckily, the ANC, despite its many compromises with the National Party, had never accepted the idea of separation and Bantustans. The official Palestinian leadership on the other hand, at the end of the millennium, boasts of having laid the foundation for a Bantustan, claiming it to be an independent state in the make. Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate prize Zionism can offer to its ‘Other’ after having denied her/his existence for a century, and after that same ‘Other’ has proved that she is human. For Zionism’s continued presence in Palestine, the ‘Other’ must be assimilated and enslaved without her/ him being conscious of her/his enslavement. Hence the granting of ‘semi-autonomous’ rule over the most crowded Palestinian cities, and hence the logic driving the Oslo Accords.

Oslo, then, brought an unprecedented level of corruption into Palestine; and security coordination with Israel, under the supervision of—irony of ironies—an American general, has become the norm. Repeating the two-state mantra, carrying the Palestinian flag, singing the national anthem and— more importantly—recognizing Israel, regardless of the rights of two thirds of the Palestinian people, are what Oslo is all about.

The lesson we learn from Gaza 2009 is to harness all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without dismantling the PA and realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramalah are a façade not unlike the South African Independent Homelands with their tribal chiefs. The classical national program, created and adopted by the Palestinian bourgeoisie has reached its end unsuccessfully. Most political forces, including the governing party in Gaza, fail to explain how 6 million Palestinian refugees will return to the Israeli State of the Jews and an independent Palestinian state will be created at the same time.

Hence the necessity for an alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the two-prison solution, a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement that has been given an impetus by Gaza 2009. De-Osloizing Palestine is, therefore, a precondition for the creation of peace with justice.

Haidar Eid is an independent political commentator.

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Posted in Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, South African Context, Why Boycott?!

Students say: No business with apartheid Israel

A divestment teach-in at Temple University on March 5 put technology to use for Palestine as students here spoke directly with students from the Hampshire College divestment movement in Massachusetts through the power of Skype, an Internet telephone program.

Temple Students for Justice in Palestine hosted the teach-in as part of Boycott Israeli Apartheid week. The panel featured Godfrey Sithole, a member of the African National Congress and veteran of the 1980s movement to divest from South Africa, and Adam Horowitz from the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation of Palestine.

The teach-in was held to reignite a divestment campaign at Temple. It was part of a week of actions that included banner droppings and a protest urging people to “hang up on Motorola” for its complicity in Israel’s human rights violations and military occupation.

Horowitz described the three components of the BDS movement—boycott, divest, sanctions—that is gaining momentum internationally, especially since Israel’s brutal war on Gaza. He explained that the divestment movement must be seen as a tactic in a broader solidarity struggle.

The BDS movement encourages student groups, unions, religious and community organizations to identify ways in which the institutions they are connected with are complicit in Israel’s occupation and wars against the Palestinian people.

The movement against Israeli apartheid borrows from the success of the earlier struggle to weaken apartheid in South Africa through similar tactics. Sithole, who in the 1980s led the movement in Philadelphia to divest from South Africa, stated: “The highlight of that campaign was when people could see the atrocities committed in South Africa. It’s a pity to have to revisit an issue we thought we’d never have to go back to.”

Sithole compared apartheid in South Africa, where racial divisions and inequities were used to enforce policies that benefited the whites in power, to the situation in Israel and occupied Palestine today, where similar racist laws and policies are used to consistently deny rights to Palestinians and Arab people in Israel.

“When you see laws similar to what Hitler used against Jewish people, it’s so hard to see the same people who faced the atrocities of Nazi Germany doing this to other people,” Sithole said. “Apartheid in South Africa also copied some of the same laws that were enforced by the Nazis. It’s an issue of control—passbooks in South Africa, checkpoints in Palestine.”

Sithole referred to a recent “60 Minutes” segment that showed Israeli soldiers occupying a Palestinian home in Gaza and controlling when family members could come and go. The soldiers let the children leave for school but refused to let them come home, making the departure of the television crew a condition for their return.

“Bit by bit the international solidarity movement is rising up and it will make a difference,” said Sithole. “Two weeks ago dockworkers in South Africa took a bold step and refused to unload ships from Israel. We were once the ones isolated—called terrorists—but the solidarity we saw with South Africa gave us hope.”

Hampshire students Brian Van Slyke and Jay Cassano from Students for Justice in Palestine joined the program through a Skype hook-up that allowed them to have an open discussion with the Philadelphia audience. Hampshire College was the first college to divest from South Africa in the 1970s and the first campus to protest the war in Afghanistan in 2001. When the Palestinian Civil Society issued a call for divestment from Israel several years ago, students felt they had to live up to that history.

Van Slyke and Cassano described the struggle to get Hampshire’s Board of Trustees subcommittee on responsible investment to finally respond to student pressure earlier this year. First they identified corporations—including Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT, Motorola and Terex—that Hampshire had investments in and that were linked to Israel.

SJP showed films, sponsored faculty panels, built a mock wall on campus and set up checkpoints to raise student awareness and participation over the two-year campaign. “You can’t be passive about the issue,” Van Slyke noted. “Otherwise people will brush you off.”

Both pointed out that although Hampshire divested from South Africa in 1977, there was almost a 10-year gap before other schools followed suit. But by 1988 more than 150 institutions had divested. Already students at the University of Mississippi, the University of Rochester and the University of Massachusetts have taken on similar campaigns to divest from Israeli apartheid.

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

http://www.workers.org/2009/world/boycott_0319/

Posted on 13-03-2009

Posted in Divestment, Student Organizing, U.S. Academica

USC students protest for Palestine

By John Osmand | March 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES–Students held a memorial on March 4 for Palestinians killed in Gaza and elsewhere, and delivered a letter to the president of the University of Southern California (USC), demanding academic freedom for Palestinians, scholarships for 10 Palestinian students and educational supplies to be delivered to universities in Gaza.

Coordinated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the action included about a dozen students carrying 10 makeshift coffins and Palestinian flags through campus. One student played taps, while another banged a drum. Afterward, students petitioned passersby calling on the administration to agree to the request.

A group of Zionists showed up to counterprotest. One sign depicted a person wearing a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headscarf, covering their face and carrying a gun. The text over the image read, “There is a reason why terrorists wear masks.”

A Jordanian-Palestinian student said that she was deeply offended by the association of a symbol of ethnic pride. She and the SJP co-president Alex Shams confronted the group, demanding that the sign be removed. After some debate, the Zionists put the sign away.

USC has witnessed several actions for Palestine, including a much stronger, louder protest in early February. Palestinian students participated in a debate with Israeli students the same day as the funeral march, and USC hosted a regional panel on boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s apartheid on March 8.

Activists say that if the university rejects the request or doesn’t respond in two weeks, they vow to continue to press for the cause of Palestine.

Posted in Student Organizing, U.S. Academica

Installation criticizing occupation, Veolia causes stir

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 12 March 2009

Visual artist Van Thanh Rudd recently created a stir in Melbourne, Australia with his installation “Economy of Movement – A Piece of Palestine.” Rudd was invited to exhibit at an art space called the Platform in the group show Resisting Subversion of Subversive Resistance. The Platform is situated directly beneath Melbourne’s major Flinders Street train station. Rudd, 35 years old, has won several awards and his work has been shown in Australia since 1993. In 2004, he established an arts movement called The Carriers Project, which involves carrying artwork on foot through public and private spaces of major cities to expose challenging artwork to mass audiences. Although Rudd has declined to talk to the media about his latest artwork, he commented on his installation to The Electronic Intifada.

When asked what inspired him to create “Economy of Movement – A Piece of Palestine,” Rudd replied that “As Melbourne’s city rail network is operated by Connex [a subsidiary of the French company Veolia], I thought it would be a great opportunity to make artwork that would clearly outline Veolia’s illegal operations on occupied Palestinian territory.”

He added, “I am a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and have taken part in many street protests against Israel’s occupation of Palestine over the last few years. It is not very often that a public space is available to political art, so I really embraced this opportunity. I was very careful and strategic about how I would make this piece of art.

Rudd decided to make a museum-style piece that displayed upon a glass plinth, a rock from occupied East Jerusalem. A panel hanging behind it reads: “The stone exhibited is from East Jerusalem (Occupied Palestinian Territory). It was thrown at an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) tank by a Palestinian youth.” Another panel to the right reads: “IDF tanks are protecting French companies Veolia (Connex) and Alstom as they conduct illegal [under international law] operations on Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Regarding the symbolism and imagery of his work, Rudd explained, “I wanted to show through this symbolism of the stone that there is resistance to oppression felt by many Palestinians and the means they have to do this is very limited. I also wanted to show generally, how poor Palestinian people are due to economic blockades imposed by the state of Israel. It was also very important to me to use the colors blue and white. The information panels … are dominated by the color blue and the text is written in white. I wanted the blue to appear like sky and freedom to humanity, but when white is added it symbolizes the Israeli state flag and oppression. The colors also happen to resemble Connex Melbourne’s advertising material.”

Immediately after Rudd’s artwork was displayed at the Platform, there were complaints by Veolia-owned Connex, the public, and a Jewish group. The artwork was covered up the following day. Connex threatened to sue the Platform, not for the actual content of the artwork, but because the artist supposedly used “their” blue and white colors, and the typeface used in the company’s promotional material. However, after receiving legal advice, the Platform decided to unveil the art again at the official launch of the exhibition on 6 March. The City of Melbourne’s Protocol on Artworks panel saw no problem to reinstall the art, because the work was consistent with the principle of freedom of speech.

Rudd’s next major group exhibition is called NAM BANG! and will be shown in Sydney. He will exhibit along with artists from other countries, including the US, France and Vietnam. Rudd explained that “The exhibition is meant to be about the perspectives of the Vietnam/US war from the second generation — I am half Vietnamese. In this, I will be exhibiting another piece on the Israel occupation, questioning who the terrorists really are and the role the US and the West have in supporting suppression of real democracy.”

The controversy surrounding Rudd’s exhibited art has been a boost to the Australian Veolia campaign. It has garnered additional attention because Rudd is a nephew of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. In the coming months Palestine solidarity organizations will demand that state governments in Australia “dump their contracts” with Connex and Veolia, because of the company’s involvement in the illegal light rail project in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. As for Veolia, the Australian daily newspaper The Age reported that “Connex maintains the East Jerusalem project is legal.” However, a growing international compaign is challenging this assertion through lawsuits, divestment and now art.

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

Posted in Economic Boycott

Rahim Barghouti On Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

NEW YORK — March 7, 2009. (Part 1) Rahim Barghouti, an organizer with Adalah NY, talks about organizing “BDS” in an effort to bring about an end to Israeli style Apartheid. She compares South African Apartheid with Israeli foreign and domestic policies and discusses how the BDS campaign is progressing.

Barghouti was speaking at a Green Party Forum On Gaza held at Judson Memorial Church in the Village.

Posted in Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

French company runs Israeli bus services to settlements

Adri Nieuwhof and Daniel Machover, The Electronic Intifada, 11 March 2009

The international Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign is gaining momentum by coordinating efforts to pressure French transportation giants Veolia and Alstom to withdraw from the Israeli tramway project in Jerusalem that runs illegally on Palestinian land. With its involvement in this project, Veolia is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the company is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem irreversible.

Veolia, for example, is heavily involved in the project with a five percent stake in the City Pass Consortium that holds the contract with the State of Israel for the construction of the tramway. The French company also has a 30-year contract as operator of the tramway. Activists and lawyers from Israel, Palestine, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom share information and work together to inform the public, influence local governments and politicians, and take legal action on this issue.

Veolia’s activities in the light rail in Jerusalem are not only in violation of international law, but also contravene the company’s commitments with respect to codes of conduct and conventions which regulate the activities of multinational corporations, some of which the company has itself pledged to uphold. As a transnational corporation, Veolia must comply with international rules governing corporate responsibility with respect to human rights. These include, but are not limited to, the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (2000), UN Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations (2003), OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000), including guidance in respect of Weak Governance Zones, and the UN Global Compact (2000). It is notable that Veolia is not only a participant in the UN Global Compact but has also contributed to the Foundation for the United Global Compact. Its first two principles state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses. Yet, by participating in the construction and maintenance of the Jerusalem tramway, Veolia flagrantly violates both of these provisions.

Veolia’s painful loss of a $4.5 billion contract in Stockholm has resonated in Scandinavia. At the end of February 2009 the financial committee of Oslo city council adopted a policy to stop doing business with companies involved in violations of international law. This proposed policy has to be ratified by the city council. The parties in favor of the policy — the Labor Party, Socialist Left Party and the Left Party — hold the majority in the city council. The driving force behind the policy is longstanding city council member Erling Folkvord of the Red Party. In an interview with the electronic magazine Frontlinjer, Folkvord said “this apartheid-like transport system strengthens the occupation and annexation of Palestinian land. In this way the project contributes to the colonization of the Palestinian territory.” Veolia has a substantial contract for collecting waste in Oslo. According to Folkvord the new policy will have consequences for Veolia in Oslo.

Veolia is not only involved in the illegal tramway in Jerusalem. In December 2008 The Electronic Intifada reported the findings of the Who Profits from the Occupation? project that Veolia is also involved in illegally dumping waste from Israel and the settlements in Tovlan landfill in the Jordan Valley. Veolia turns out to be a loyal partner for Israel in the colonization of Palestine. After receiving a tip from someone participating in the Derail Veolia campaign, research undertaken by Who Profits confirmed that Veolia is running bus services 109 and 110 from West Jerusalem to settlements in the West Bank. For instance, Connex bus 110 goes through road 443 in the West Bank to Mevo Horon and Givat Zeev settlements.

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. Numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the West Bank have confirmed that settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention — which states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” By running bus services Veolia is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the OPT.

In December 2005, Amnesty International in France invited Veolia to discuss its concerns about the illegality of the tramway. The company refused the invitation and informed Amnesty it had appointed an independent legal expert to study the file. Three years later one can conclude Veolia has not backed out of illegal activities that facilitate Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Campaigners believe that a fair public debate on these issues would be illuminated by Veolia’s publication of the advice it received: after all, what has Veolia got to hide if it is proud of its economic activities in the OPT?

Adri Nieuwhof is consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland. Daniel Machover is attorney and co-founder of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights based in Great Britain.

Posted in Economic Boycott, Why Boycott?!

Who Profits – Corporate Involvement in the Checkpoints

Complicit firms

Privatizing Security – Corporate Involvement in the Checkpoints

Our March newsletter focuses on companies involved in the Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. This is the first in a series of monthly short reports by the Who Profits project, of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. These monthly reports will be published on our recently launched new website, where you can also subscribe to our newsletter.

Israeli military checkpoints are spread throughout the occupied West Bank, and they have a direct and devastating effect on the daily lives of Palestinians. This elaborate control system fragments families and communities, paralyzes the Palestinian production and trade and prevents a viable political existence. These impacts are well documented, yet the involvement of companies in the operation, equipment and maintenance of the checkpoints has not been awarded enough attention.

The most direct and evident corporate involvement in the checkpoints includes five companies which provide security services to the checkpoints: Mikud Security, Ari Avtaha, S.B. Security Systems, Modi’in Ezrachi and Sheleg Lavan. These are private Israeli security firms contracted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to provide workers to replace soldiers in carrying out the jobs of security screening and guarding the checkpoints. Read more about each of these companies on our on-line database: www.whoprofits.org. The website also offers a new article by Eilat Maoz, “The Privatization of the Checkpoints and the Late Occupation”, which discusses the reasons for the privatization, the connection between this and neo-liberal ideology, and offers insights about the current-day Israeli occupation (see:http://www.whoprofits.org/Article%20Data.php?doc_id=705).

Apart from these security firms, many other companies have been involved in the operation of the checkpoints by supplying dedicated equipment, such as specialized scanners and surveillance technologies. These include US companies such as L-3 Communications andRapiscan (a subsidiary of OSI Systems) which provided, through their representative in Israel Hashmira (a subsidiary of the British-Danish firm G4S) personal luggage scanners for some checkpoints. Other companies include US Garrett Metal Detectors, the ItalianCEIA and even Chevrolet, whose baggage scanner vehicles were seen by our activists in several checkpoints, including the infamous Huwwara checkpoint.

The Israeli subsidiary of the American EDS (a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard) is the prime contractor for the Basel Project – an automatic biometric access control system which is installed in major checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank. Subcontractors in this project included Credentia, Oberthur Smart Cards USA, Team Computers, OTI Israel, The DataCard Group, Visionics, RSI and Eshed Engineers.

Similarly, as part of a USAID project, the US for profit aid and development company Chemonics has provided cargo scanning equipment to some of the larger checkpoints, designed for the control of the movement of goods and products in and out of the West Bank and Gaza. The equipment was supplied by the American AS&E, and manufactured by the Chinese company Nuctech.

These companies, and some of these are large multinational firms, are aiding in the construction and maintenance of a system of military checkpoints which was condemned by human rights organizations as a brutal repressive system, which violates basic human rights. As an Israeli peace organization, we also see the checkpoints as a tool of collective punishment, political repression and land annexation. These examples clearly illustrate the corporate interests in the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine.

For more information about these companies and about other corporate involvements in the Israeli military checkpoints, check out The Wall and Checkpoints category on our website www.whoprofits.org.

Posted in Economic Boycott