The Catholic organization Pax Christi has backed a report from the group ‘War on Want’ which has highlighted the role of companies like Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Connex and Caterpillar in Israel’s war against the Palestinians.
The report, Profiting from the Occupation, details the extent of the humanitarian crisis currently facing Palestinians as a result of Israel’s intensified operations against them, and examines the role which companies have played in supporting the occupation.
The report finds that train operator Connex is constructing a light rail system which will link illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to the Israeli side of the city, slicing across occupied Palestinian territory and threatening any final agreement on the status of the city.
Supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose stock wines, snacks and other goods which are produced in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and Golan Heights but sold as Made in Israel. Construction companies such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Daewoo supply bulldozers which are used by the Israeli army in the construction of its illegal seperation wall, as well as in the demolition of Palestinian homes.
War on Want point out that Israel’s actions have been identified as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as being in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
“At such a crucial time when we are seeing the cycle of violence escalate in Gaza, political and economic contact in support of the occupation is going to be seen as adding to the problems,” said Pat Gaffney, general secretary of Pax Christi.
“All with links to Israel and Palestine need to look to the consequences of their actions ˆ will they lead to peace and justice or division and violence.”
Louise Richards, chief executive of War on Want, said: “Aiding and abetting a crime is itself a crime when it comes to individuals, but corporations are free to make money out of extreme violations of international law.
“Familiar high street companies are actively supporting Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, despite the terrible suffering this is causing. Companies must no longer be allowed to profit from the misery of the Palestinian people.”