PALESTINOW.COM — A new UN report says Israel has been imposing an “apartheid regime” of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people.
The report, commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, says, “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. On the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. However, only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative.”
Not that surprisingly enough, the United States and European partners are outraged and have called for the withdrawal of the UN report. After all, they are all cut from the same imperial economics cloth, so much so that the UN’s top human rights division has even compiled an unprecedented blacklist of private companies doing business in occupied territories and illegal Israeli settlements. These organizations and companies refuse to pay attention to the global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), and they may not be the ones you would expect:
Volvo: The automobile giant has been criticized by BDS campaigners for supplying equipment to bulldoze Palestinian homes. The Swedish automobile manufacturer also holds a 27% stake in Merkavim, whose buses are used to transport Palestinian prisoners to and from Israeli prisons.
Hewlett Packard: The tech giant owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems for Israeli military forces and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.
Intel: Intel operates plants in Kiriyat Gat, site of the former Palestinian villages of al-Manshiya and Faluja. It was in the 1948-49 war that the residents of these villages were expelled, in line with Israel’s strategic plans.
Motorola: The American telecommunications giant provides surveillance equipment around illegal settlements, along the Israeli-built separation barrier and the Gaza border.
McDonald’s: The largest fast food chain in the world has longtime partnership with the Jewish United Fund. The Jewish United Fund works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel.
Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola Israel owns dairy farms on the illegal settlements of Shadmot Mechola in the Jordan Valley and a plant in the industrial zone of Katzerin on the occupied Golan Heights.
Danone: Close to 2 decades ago Danone opened its R&D facility in Israel – the Danone Institute. The French company also owns a 20% share of Israel’s second largest food company, the Strauss Group.
Marks and Spencer: Since its beginning, M&S has been linked inextricably to Zionism. The fundamental objectives of the British company is to aid the economic development of Israel.
Starbucks: The close relationship of this brand with Israel has been doing the rounds for quite some time.
Nestle: The Swiss multinational has bought 51% shares in Osem investments. Osem Investments is directly engaged in the production and distribution of food products in Israel.
In a flagrant violation of International Law, all these Western companies and organizations are implicated in Israel’s crimes against humanity and illegal settlement enterprise in occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Al-Quds. They are also a major obstacle to justice and peace in occupied Palestine and the broader region – by way of enabling and profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other human rights violations.
It is, therefore, long overdue for the United Nations and the international civil society to multiply cultural, economic and political pressure, and call on all states where these companies and organizations are operating to not recognize or provide assistance, economic or otherwise, to Israel’s illegal annexation, settlement policy, and apartheid regime. The international community should also call for sanctions and an arms embargo against Israel.
Under International Law, all the UN-listed companies can and should immediately stop their dealings with the usurper regime and member states are to ensure that they do so. Additionally, investors and contractors, whether Western governments or private entities, should suspend military aid to Israel and avoid engagement with such companies and organizations until they end their illegal business dealings in occupied Palestine. The destruction of Israeli apartheid will not occur without a powerful, international movement dedicated to freedom for all Palestinians.