corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine this morning announced its verdict after weekend deliberations. The jury said it had been presented with "compelling evidence of corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law".
Juror Michael Mansfield QC, who chaired this morning's press conference, announced the jury's call for the mobilisation of civil society to end the involvement of companies in Israeli human rights violations.
Both Israel and the complicit businesses are in clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, he said. This relates to "the supply of arms; the construction and maintenance of the illegal separation Wall" and providing services to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In its public statement, the Russell Tribunal named seven examples of corporations complicit in Israeli violations, including British-Danish prison firm G4S which supplies equipment to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, Franco-Belgian finance corporation Dexia which finances illegal settlements in the West Bank through its subsidiary Dexia Israel Public Finance Ltd and Ireland's Cement Roadstone Holdings which owns a quarter of Mashav Initiative and Development Ltd which owns Israel's sole cement producer and main supplier of cement for Israel's illegal seperation barrier -Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises Litd.
The public statement is available in full on the Russell Tribunal website www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com
Israel is in "flagrant disregard" of international law and is on the wrong side of world opinion, and morality said Mr. Mansfield.
Juror and South African liberation struggle veteran Ronnie Kasrils said one "can not underestimate the importance" of civil society action on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
The jury concluded there were positive legal ramifications for those took action on boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. "Those who wish to actively protest about this, are entitled to do so," said Mr. Mansfield. Those prosecuted for criminal damages have a defence: necessity.
The press conference heard breaking news of such an action happening in Covent Garden this morning, as activists shut down Ahava, an Israeli business based in a West Bank settlement.
The statements from those corporations who chose to engage with the tribunal will be annexed to the final report of the London session. This full report will be available in at the beginning of December.
It will identify specific legal remedies in the case of the many companies involved in Israeli human rights violations.