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Tell Bill Gates to divest from Israeli occupation profiteer G4S

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(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook)

(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook)

Ahead of Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17, Addameer Prisoner Support, Human Rights Association and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) have issued a Call to action: Join Palestinian political prisoner’s day Free all Palestinian political prisoners! Tell Bill Gates to Divest from G4S!

Dalal Jaradat, wife of Arafat Jaradat tortured to death (Screenshot G4S: Securing War Crimes)

Dalal Jaradat, widow of Arafat Jaradat who was tortured to death under G4S surveillance systems during interrogation in an Israeli prison (Screenshot G4S: Securing War Crimes)

Israel outsources prison security to G4S, the British security company responsible for providing surveillance systems in prisons where Palestinian detainees have been tortured to death.

As this Addameer petition explains, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world,”purchased shares in G4S worth $172m, making it one of the company’s biggest shareholders.”

More from the petition: Tell Bill Gates to divest from Israel’s torture of Palestinians!

Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including 183 children and 175 held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial that Israel uses to hold Palestinians indefinitely on secret information.

Each year the Israeli military arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any resistance to its continued occupation and apartheid policies. Among these are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old. In too many cases Palestinian children are tortured, ill-treated, placed in solitary confinement and coerced into signing a confession in Hebrew, a language which most Palestinian children do not understand. Every year approximately 1,000 children are sentenced in Israeli military courts……..

The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”.

But through its holdings in G4S, the Gates Foundation is legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture, mass incarceration and arbitrary arrest to discourage Palestinians from opposing Israel’s apartheid policies.

(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook)

(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook)

G4S profits from the imprisonment of Palestinian political prisoners. G4S profits from protecting and maintaining security equipment at checkpoints and the Annexation Wall. And G4S profits from protecting and maintaining security equipment at illegal Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land. When G4S profits, so does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

G4S is complicit in Israeli war crimes.

Watch Addameer’s new video, G4S: Securing War Crimes

Read this open letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, sign the petition and take action.

Dear Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Management Committee,

We, the undersigned Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations and Coalitions committed to the implementation of international human rights and humanitarian law, are writing to inform you of the conduct in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) of G4S, the international security company in which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a 3% stake last year, worth more than $170m.
In 2007 G4S signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Service to provide and maintain security systems at five prisons and detention centres located in Israel and the OPT, at which Palestinians political prisoners are detained.[i] In direct violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel forcibly transfers these prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier, in prisons that have security management systems maintained and operated by G4S. According to international law, these violations are tantamount to war crimes. In 2012, the former Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, Professor Richard Falk, singled out G4S as a prime example of a company that should be held accountable for its complicity in human rights abuses.[ii]
Each year, the Israeli army arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any opposition to its continued occupation. They are arrested under Israeli military orders that prohibit basic civil, cultural and political rights such as the attendance of demonstrations, membership of political organizations, and the writing of slogans on the Apartheid Wall. Among those arrested are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old, who are often tortured, ill-treated and placed in solitary confinement during their interrogation. G4S helps to operate the Moscobiyeh and Jalameh interrogation centers, where this torture takes place, and Damon prison, where child prisoners are held and subjected to violence.
The situation for Palestinian prisoners is grave. Since 1967, Israel has detained over 800,000 Palestinians, amounting to 20% of the Palestinian population. Moreover, the widespread torture of prisoners has been well documented, including Arafat Jaradat, who was tortured to death in G4S secured Megiddo prison, in February 2013.[iii]
A recent legal study conducted by Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre found that G4S has “failed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to comply with international law in good faith” and urges investors to contemplate “unparalleled risk to their investment in a business activity whose profit model is conflict- dependent and potentially illegal”.[iv]
Several organizations have severed ties with G4S for its complicity in human rights violations, including the Trauma Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, Amnesty International Denmark and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims in Copenhagen, and the Dutch Trade Union Abvakabo.[v] Most recently, G4S was referred to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in the United Kingdom due to its complicity in human rights violations.[vi]
The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”.  As a development and anti-poverty organisation working for the dignity and freedom of all people, we urge you to divest from G4S, a company that is operating in a way that clearly and directly contravenes the stated values and investment policies of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Signed,
PNGO-Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (representing over 135 organizations)
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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17 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont on April 3, 2014, 11:56 am

    Good. But who will see these cartoons? Why should Gates care?

    • annie
      annie on April 3, 2014, 12:40 pm

      i happen to have a good friend who works for the gates foundation and i have already emailed him/her this post. so the graphic will be seen.

      also, according to my friend (who is no slouch and a non zionist) the foundation (paraphrasing) doesn’t seek to involve itself in politically contested issues, or something. it’s been a while since i have seen this person but i recall our conversation well.

      i think they will care.

  2. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby on April 3, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Use this email to call on Gates to stop their support for G4s!

    [email protected]

  3. BrianEsker
    BrianEsker on April 3, 2014, 2:38 pm

    G4S is highly diversified and operates in over 120 countries. Managing prisons is only one small part of their operations. And the Gates Foundation does very diverse work including funding polio vaccinations in 3rd world countries.

    It’s so much of a stretch here to criticize Gates or G4S that it just looks like another meaningless protest by the usual bellyachers.

    • Donald
      Donald on April 3, 2014, 2:47 pm

      “Managing prisons is only one small part of their operations”

      So if it involves supporting torture they should get out of that small portion of their business. Problem solved.

      “And the Gates Foundation does very diverse work including funding polio vaccinations in 3rd world countries”

      So they should try to avoid mixing up their good work fighting polio and other diseases with the support of torture.

      “It’s so much of a stretch here to criticize Gates or G4S ”

      So if an otherwise good person or company does something wrong we should never ever point it out, in hopes that they will learn something and stop doing it.
      We should just look the other way.

    • annie
      annie on April 3, 2014, 8:22 pm

      i think it could be possible the gates foundation is not aware there is an international campaign against G4S and perhaps they are not familiar with the gross injustices carried out under their “security” services. perhaps they are not aware their investment is embroiled in a massive human rights issue. i think it’s a great letter.

      i hope as a result of this letter they rethink their investment and decide to invest their funds – of which the profits, i agree, are frequently used for really important life saving initiatives – in companies and corporations not linked to crimes against humanity.

    • talknic
      talknic on April 3, 2014, 11:53 pm

      BrianEsker “G4S is highly diversified and operates in over 120 countries. Managing prisons is only one small part of their operations”

      And? So? What point are you trying to make?

      “And the Gates Foundation does very diverse work including funding polio vaccinations in 3rd world countries”

      It’s rather incongruous that their investments include a company involved in the usurping of the Palestinians.

      “It’s so much of a stretch here to criticize Gates or G4S”

      You need a shrink pal.

  4. BrianEsker
    BrianEsker on April 3, 2014, 9:13 pm

    “i hope as a result of this letter they rethink their investment and decide to invest their funds”

    Won’t make it past the round file. Guaranteed.

  5. The JillyBeans
    The JillyBeans on April 3, 2014, 9:55 pm

    I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. But the Wikipedia entry for G4S was rather amusing:

    With over 620,000 employees, it is the world’s third-largest private sector employer (after Wal-Mart Stores[2][5] and Foxconn).

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on April 3, 2014, 10:14 pm

    STOP G4S AVATAR/ICON – http://www.addameer.org/images/g4s.png

  7. riyadh
    riyadh on April 3, 2014, 10:24 pm

    Hi, Annie. I thought I’d pass along this interesting article the British Library posted today about a 1917 proposal to create a Jewish state in Saudi Arabia.

    http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2014/04/the-jewish-state-of-eastern-arabia.html

    • Ellen
      Ellen on April 4, 2014, 11:33 pm

      fascinating document on many levels. Confirms the Colonial enterprise of Ziostan.

      The troops would gather at Bahrain and, as soon they reached 30,000, a ‘coup de main’ (swift attack) would ensue, taking the ‘Turkish province of Al Hassa, near the Persian Gulf’, which ‘will become a Jewish State (un État juif)’. He predicts an ensuing ‘state of war’ with Turkey due to the invasion. Therefore, ‘the Jewish troops will immediately enter into a campaign… until the final victory of the Entente or until their destruction’. – See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2014/04/the-jewish-state-of-eastern-arabia.html#sthash.p9sT5clM.dpuf

    • annie
      annie on April 4, 2014, 11:38 pm

      thanks riyadh, very strange indeed.

  8. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw on April 4, 2014, 12:07 am

    Are you going to boycott Microsoft, Annie?

    • Ellen
      Ellen on April 5, 2014, 12:04 am

      Sony chose AMD over Microsoft. Seems other big players on doing the same.

      Not that Annie is surely a big chip player, but she has the choice just as Sony did.

      AMD won this business because they have the advanced IP, know-how, experience and commitment to make this happen. They have leading edge IP in CPU, GPU, memory, video, audio, and I/O. They also designed the first quad core, X86 SOC, and it’s not a giant leap to take this to eight cores. Finally, AMD built an entire product division to support the effort that others weren’t prepared to commit. It was a clear-cut win.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2013/06/26/the-real-reasons-microsoft-and-sony-chose-amd-for-consoles/

  9. Kay24
    Kay24 on April 4, 2014, 9:50 am

    The aid and support for Israel must stop. Greedy corporations, just like during apartheid South Africa, are more interested in making profits, than addressing the human rights violations going on. Our shameless congress and other leaders, must first and foremost stop all aid that enables this rogue state. They have insulted Kerry, openly criticized the US efforts to get peace talks going, and yet they cannot exist without US support and help. This Haaretz link shows that once again, they beg for military aid, to keep their brutal occupation, and crimes against unarmed civilians, going. Time we reconsidered aiding and arming this parasitic nation.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.583812

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