Saturday, October 31, 2020

G4S to withdraw businesses from Israel

By Bao Yen - March 11, 2016
Section: [Main News] [BDS]
Tags: [BDS]

British giant G4S, the world's largest security firm, has announced plans to withdraw its business in Israel within the next 12 to 24 months.

The plans have set a landmark victory for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), after four-year-long global campaigns to pressure the British company to end trades with Israel.

In a recent public statement, BDS says G4S has lost millions of dollars in contracts with more than a dozen countries as a result of BDS campaigns against their roles in providing equipment for Israeli checkpoints, illegal settlements, and incarceration facilities.

The announcement to pull out of their controversial business in Israel came after a plunge in revenues and intensive protests against the firm's activities in the region.

G4S plans to close its entire business in Israel, which employs 8,000 people with an estimated turnover of $143m, the Financial Times reported.

Public institutions, student unions, private businesses, UN bodies, and several local councils are among those who decided to end their contracts with G4S, following the campaign pressure.

In 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation divested its $170m stake from G4S, after protests at its offices in Seattle, London and Johannesburg. UNHCR and UNICEF offices in Jordan are also among G4S' lost clients, after their decisions to terminate contracts with the British firm just earlier this month.

“As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

According to BDS, G4S has long track records of their complicity in human rights abuses, not just in Palestine but also in prisons and detention centers across the US, the UK and South Africa.

A report by the Israeli Occupation Industry alleges the British security firm of providing security system for Israel's major prisons and compounds in the West Bank and Gaza, including Ktziot, Ofer, or Hasharon compound, where thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are interrogated and imprisoned every year.

“This latest news from G4S is welcome but it has no immediate effect on those facing serious human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today”, Nawajaa added.

BDS says it will continue to boycott G4S until it completely exits from the Israel’s market as G4S is infamous for breaking pledges in ending its trades with Israel over the past few years.

Until then, campaigns against the British giant remain a "high BDS priority".

Prior to G4S, a number of multinational corporates have also ended their business in Israel as a response to BDS pressure. This includes French firms Veolia, telecom company Orange and Ireland's biggest company CRH.

G4S’ announcement to extract its work in Israel came after the UK's controversial decision to ban publicly funded institutions from boycotting Israeli products last month.


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