Belgian firm urged to abandon Israel port building project
Belgian firm Jan De Nul Group is considering building new port facilities in Haifa and Ashdod on behalf of the Israel Ports Company, according to media reports. Two other European firms are believed to have pulled out of the bidding due to fears about boycott pressure. In this open letter, Palestinian, European and Middle Eastern unions, NGOs and campaigns call on the firm to abandon any plans to be involved in the project.
Letter to Jan De Nul Group regarding proposed port facilities
Dear Jan De Nul Group Board of Directors,
We, the undersigned Palestinian organisations and supporters of Palestinian human rights, are writing to express our concern at reports that your company is currently bidding to build port facilities in the Israeli towns of Haifa and Ashdod.
Given that as much as one third of Israeli exports are partly or wholly produced in Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in violation of international law, the new ports you are considering constructing shall facilitate the export of settlement produce. Any new ports shall help to make the continued existence and expansion of settlements economically viable and therefore contribute to and profit from violations of international law.
Israel has inflicted endless death, injury, forced displacement, dispossession and destruction upon millions of Palestinians and other Arabs in neighbouring countries using imported weapons. As the world's fourth largest exporter of weapons, Israel exports weapons and military technology it has tested against Palestinians to repressive regimes across the world, often in violation of UN military embargoes. The ports you are considering constructing are likely to become a key conduit for deadly weapons used to violate human rights in Palestine/Israel and across the world.
By constructing and operating ports that facilitate the movement of produce from illegal Israeli settlements and weaponry used in Israeli massacres, the Jan De Nul Group would be be making a political decision to become deeply complicit with Israel's violations of international law and Israel's oppression of Palestinian rights.
As such, the Jan De Nul Group would become a legitimate target for popular boycotts, protests and campaigns aimed at persuading governments and private sector bodies not to award your business lucrative contracts. Governments in Tunisia, Kuwait and elsewhere in the Arab world have recently signalled their support for official boycotts of companies that facilitate Israeli violations of international law.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that it is illegal to provide aid, assistance or recognition to Israel's violations of international law. This legal ruling is the basis for reports by the UN Human Rights Council and Belgian civil society organisations recommending that private businesses and governments ensure they do not provide economic or practical support to Israel's violations of international law.
The BDS movement has consistently targeted complicit Israeli and international corporations — involved in Israel’s occupation, settlements and other international law infringements — such as Veolia, Dexia, Sodatream, G4S, Ahava, Mekorot, Elbit, Caterpillar, Africa Israel, all Israeli banks, among others, and these campaigns have often cost these businesses tens of billions of dollars of lost revenue.
We urge you to abandon your plans to operate port facilities that shall enable Israel to continue to violate international law with impunity.
Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, PalestinKuwait Democratic Forum, Kuwait
Women Cultural Social & Society, Kuwait
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Kuwait, Kuwait
Freedom Now Association, Morocco
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Morocco, Morocco
Union nationale des ingenieurs Unim (National Union of Moroccan Engineers), Morocco
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Morocco
Solidarité Maroc Palestine, Morocco
Algemene Centrale van het ABVV, Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Belgium
Nordine Saïdi pour le Mouvement Citoyen Palestine, BelgiumLe Comité Verviers Palestine, Belgium
Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Belgium
G3W - Geneeskunde voor de Derde Wereld , Belgium
Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, Belgium
Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient, Luxembourg