BDS Newsletter #07 – September 2008
Posted inNews /

BDS Newsletter #07 – September 2008


Edition: 07 – September, 2008


Feature: Month of BDS actions in the UK
The British-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) used the month of September as their Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) Month of Action, as PSC supporters from over twenty towns created eye-catching and impact-achieving demonstrations. In order to support the demonstrations, the PSC also held meetings and film-screenings as a means of spreading their message about the BDS campaign.

The highlight of the month came on 28 September, when activists occupied and shut down the UK freight warehouse and HQ of Carmel-Agrexco. Agrexco is one of the largest settlement agro-businesses and a key exporter of settlement produce to Europe. Both gates to the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex were blocked for twelve hours, as four protestors locked themselves inside a cage blocking one gate while another was D-locked to the other gate.

In addition to the action against Carmel-Agrexco, protestors focused their efforts on local shops, supermarkets, and press offices across Britain. In some cases dressed as Jaffa oranges, activists distributed BIG campaign leaflets and explained to shoppers how buying Israeli herbs, dates, avocados and other produce encourages and legitimizs Israeli apartheid the colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, destroying Palestinian lives and livelihoods.

For more information, click here and here.

Ongoing Campaigns

New York and UK developments Leviev campaign
This month saw two new developments in the campaign against Lev Leviev. The first followed an article in the Guardian detailing UK government plans to rent office space in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s Africa – Israel company. A number of organizations and activists demanding the UK reverse its decision.

The large alliance of Palestinian and international civil society that issued a call for letters to the UK’s Foreign Office demanding that the government not rent from Leviev included UK-based Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War on Want; the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Jayyous, where Leviev’s companies have been building settlements; the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, and US-based Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation.

In a separate event, Adalah – NY organized a protest against a Museum of the City of New York fundraiser sponsored by Leviev in New York. The Director of the Museum of the City of New York had failed to respond to phone calls and a September 16th letter, informing the museum of the inconsistency of Leviev’s business practices with the museum’s mission, and with non-profit ethical standards.

For more information from Adalah – NY, click here and here.

Veolia court case update
The French court case against Veolia is moving forward, and the company has submitted legalized translations (in French) of the light rail contract to the court in Nanterre. The lawyers of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Association France Palestine Solidarite (ASFP) are in the process of studying the material. The court has set 24 November as the date for a new hearing.

The French legal case started almost a year ago. At the end of October 2007, Veolia Transport and Alstom were taken to court by AFPS because of their involvement in the Israeli tramway project. The PLO joined AFPS in the legal action against the two companies, invoking French Civil Code which states in its Articles 6, 1131 and 1133 that any agreement can be discharged of its powers when its aim is in contradiction with the public order or good morals. As they are in violation of international law, the contracts of Alstom and Veolia Transport are therefore also illegal under French law. The legal action undertaken by AFPS is based on this rule in French law and is seeking the cancellation of the contracts for the construction and running of the tramway in Palestine between Alstom, Veolia and the Israeli government. At the same time the legal action is aimed to prohibit the companies from executing the contract.

For background information on the case, click here.

Latest News

Ormat Technologies approved to build Nevada power plant
A subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Ormat Nevada Inc., has been granted a permission to supply and construct a geothermal power plant at Blue Mountain, Nevada. Blue Mountain is located 20 miles west of the town of Winnemucca, Nevada. The electric power generated by the plant will be sold to Nevada Power Company under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.

Ormat Technologies is an Israeli company headquartered in Nevada and registered in the United States. This is the case for a growing number of Israeli companies, who choose to register in the United States on account of American tax laws and regulations

For more information, click here.

Israeli energy company makes inroads in Finland, Spain, USA
Israeli energy system developer Solel Solar Systems announced the opening of a $9 million factory in Finland together with glass processing technology firm Glaston.

The facility will produce parabolic solar reflectors for Solel’s solar field projects. The solar reflectors are crucial components of the thermo-solar fields that Beit Shemesh-based Solel looks to set up in Spain and the US.

Solel has already announced a number of contracts to supply solar thermal technology to Spanish developers and has recently completed the re-supply of most of the solar receivers for the solar power plants under commercial operation in California’s Mojave Desert. Solel’s American division, Solel USA, has a signed agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to deliver 553 megawatts of solar power from the Mojave Desert by 2012.

For more information, click here.

IEC in talks to purchase gas from Gaza offshore supply
According to Globes, Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) board, headed by Moti Friedman, is to meet next week to discuss the framework proposal set out by the government for the purchase of natural gas from BG Group. The BG Group is the operator of an exploration license covering the entire marine area offshore the Gaza Strip and is currently looking into options for commercializing the gas.

IEC CEO Amos Lasker met yesterday with Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav, and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler, who presented the government’s proposal for the purchase of gas from BG Group.

If the IEC board approves the government proposal, IEC can officially commence negotiations with BG Group for the purchase of gas from its offshore well in Gaza. Under the proposal drafted by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures, IEC is supposed to purchase 800 million cubic meters of gas a year for a period of 15 years.

IEC bids for another project in Cyprus
IEC is bidding in a $50 million Cypriot tender to build an 80-100 kilometer ultra-high tension power line. This is the second project in which IEC is bidding in on the island. In August, IEC announced that it expected to bid in an Electricity Authority of Cyprus tender to build a 50-60 megawatt power plant, at a cost of $60-80 million, to be built ten kilometers north of Larnaca. IEC said that the power station is due to come on line in 2010 and will initially run on crude oil until a conversion to natural gas.

For more information, click here.

Radcom makes deal with major South American mobile service
A major South American mobile service provider has selected RADCOM’s Omni-Q service assurance solution to monitor their network. The selection of the Omni-Q solution for the operator’s wireless network follows their earlier deployment of RADCOM’s wireline monitoring solution for their SS7 and VoIP networks. RADCOM, with offices in the UK, China and the US, is headquartered in Tel Aviv.

For more information, click here.


Feature: Spanish war crimes legal case continues
The Israeli government is reportedly holding secret talks with the Spanish government in an attempt to stop the Spanish legal system from issuing arrest warrants for seven senior Israeli security and military officials accused of committing war crimes. Israeli authorities have warned the accused against travelling to Spain and have dispatched a letter to the Spanish Foreign Minister, Migel Moratinos, asking him to intervene in order to resolve this issue.

The legal case against the Occupation commanders began on 24 June 2008, when the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) filed a lawsuit at the National Court of Spain, the highest Spanish judicial council, against seven former senior Israeli military officials who were involved in the planning and execution of the “targeted assassination” of Salah Shehada, commander of the armed wing of Hamas, in Gaza city in July 2002. Sheheda and seventeen others, including his wife, his daughter, his guard, eight children (including a 2-month infant), two elderly men, and two women were killed in the bombing. In addition, seventy-seven other people were injured, eleven houses were completely destroyed and thirty-two houses damaged.

This lawsuit the Spanish National Court is now examining has been made possible by the cooperation of PCHR, a series of experienced and well known human rights lawyers and Palestinian and Spanish solidarity organizations (including the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee and the Al-Quds Association for Solidarity with People in Arab Countries).

For more information, click here and here. For background information from Stop the Wall, click here.

Latest News

India and Israel discuss military co-operation
The Israeli army chief met senior military officials in India and discussed joint military training and exercises. Maj Gen Avi Mizrahi, the chief of the Israeli ground forces, arrived in New Delhi on 9 September for a three-day visit. He met the three services chiefs of India– Gen Deepak Malhotra, Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. He also visited the headquarters of the Defense Research and Development Organization.

Sources in New Delhi said that Mizrahi discussed matters of mutual concern, including joint military training and exercises for the two armed forces, during his meetings with the Indian military officials. Israel has offered to train Indian troops in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist operations, the sources added.

India has purchased the Phalcons Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems from Israel that would be fitted onto the Indian Air Force’s three IL-76 heavy-lift transport aircraft. It has also bought the Green Pine radars that warn of incoming enemy ballistic missiles. The Indian armed forces also use Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance. The Indian Army uses Israeli night-vision equipment, particularly in Kashmir.

For more information, click here.

US approves four arms deals for Israel this month
This month the US approved four large arms deals to Israel. Earlier in the month, three arms deals for bombs, Patriot missile upgrades and anti-armor weapons had been approved. At the end of the month, a large deal for F-35 fighter jets was also approved.

Raytheon Co. is set to sell three kits to upgrade Israel’s Patriot missile defense system, a deal valued at up to $164 million if all options are exercised.

The second deal involves the sale of 28,000 M72A7 66mm light anti-armor weapons, 60,000 training rockets, and other equipment, a deal valued at up to $89 million. The main contractor would be Talley Defense, based in Mesa Arizona.

Boeing Co. is also involved in an arms deal, supplying 1,000 GBU-9 small diameter bombs, in a deal valued at up to $77 million if all options are exercised.

Finally, Israel has been approved to buy 25 fighter jets equipped with the latest military technology from the United States with an option to purchase an additional 50 in a deal worth more than $15 billion.

For more information, click here and here.

RADA wins deal to equip fighter aircraft
Defence technology company RADA Electronic Industries has won a $6.2 million contract to supply its airborne video and data recording system to an unnamed fighter aircraft maker as part of an upgrade package to one of its leading aircraft. The company will also supply its HUD Cameras as part of this upgrade. RADA said the adaptation phase will be performed during 2009. Deliveries will commence from 2009 through 2012, in accordance with the aircraft modification schedule.

RADA is civil and military avionics company based in Israel that is closely involved with development of Israeli weapons systems. The company’s president is the former commander of the Israeli Air Force.

For more information, click here.


Feature: South African government fails to support BDS call
In the past few months, the South African government has shown a willingness to engage in two massive deals with Israeli companies Orsus and AMDOCS. While the South African trade union COSATU and solidarity activists have responded positively to the Palestinian call for BDS, the South African government has refused to take a principled stance against these business ties.

In May 2008, it was revealed that the state-run Transnet would enter into a deal with Orsus Solutions Israel Ltd. Orsus is set to provide surveillance and security equipment for 34,000 kilometres of railway lines. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) reacted strongly to this disclosure and issued a statement attacking the project, promising serious action if it is not halted.

In June the Palestinian BDS National Committee contacted Alec Erwin, the then South African Minister of Public Enterprises, pointing out that Orsus was an Israeli company involved in the military industry and requesting that the South African government uphold the Palestinian call for boycott. In September, Mr. Erwin responded, stating that it would be “inappropriate” for his department to put pressure on Transnet.

In a separate deal last month, the state owned enterprise Telecom was considering entering into a deal with the Israeli company AMDOCS. AMDOCS is reported to have links to Mossad spy operations, primarily in the United States. The BDS National Committee has also confronted the South African government over this deal, but has yet to receive a reply.

The actions of the South African government are incredibly disappointing. As was true in South Africa during apartheid, doing business with Israeli companies, despite Israel’s consistent violation of international law and fundamental human rights, is a form of complicity in maintaining the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. The position of the South African government stands in stark contrast to that of South African activists and civil society organizations, who have overwhelming condemned Israeli apartheid and taken up the Palestinian BDS call.

For more information on AMDOCS, click here and here for the BDS National Committee Letter.
For more information on Orsus, click here.

Latest News

Virginia, Israel sign agreement for private R&D
Virginia and Israel have signed a pact to strengthen cooperation on private sector industrial research and development. The agreement was signed by Gov. Timothy Kaine and Sallai Meridor, the ambassador of Israel.

Under the pact, a research and development project will get financial support from the governments of Virginia and Israel, which will cut the costs that Virginian and Israeli companies would have to incur if they were to conduct the project independently.

For more information, click here.

First technical studies made on Turkey-Israel-India energy pipeline
Energy officials from Turkey, Israel and India held the first meeting on technical studies of the Med Stream pipeline project in Ankara. Undersecretary of Turkish Energy Ministry Selahattin Cimen, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure Hezi Kugler, and Indian state oil company IOC’s Director B.M. Bansal attended the meeting.

Med Stream, a multi-purpose offshore pipeline project to connect Turkey and Israel via the Mediterranean Sea, is planned to transport oil, natural gas, water, electricity and fiber optic cables. Feasibility studies are planned to begin by the end of this year and would be completed in the summer of 2009.

India is interested in the project to import oil from the line through Red Sea with loading tankers from an Israeli port. The project is estimated to cost around 8 billion euros.

For more information, click here.