Hyundai Heavy Industries: End Complicity With Apartheid
It is time to mount pressure on Hyundai Heavy Industries through boycotts and divestment to effectively support the resistance of Palestinian communities in Masafer Yatta.
In what would be the largest expulsions carried out by the Israeli apartheid regime since the 1970s, Palestinian communities in occupied West Bank’s Masafer Yatta are yet again facing home demolitions, arrests and other criminal forms of oppression. As in Al Naqab and East Jerusalem, the apartheid regime aims to colonize more Palestinian land, ethnically cleansing more Palestinians. At the beginning of the 1980, Israel declared 3000 ha of the 3600 ha that make up Masafar Yatta as military Firing Zone 918. In a typical settler colonial modus operandi, over 40 years later, this serves as a pretext to forcibly expel the Palestinian population.
Bulldozers from companies such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, JCB, Volvo and Caterpillar are an integral part of Israel’s illegal destruction of Palestinian homes and livelihoods. In repeated instances, we have witnessed Israeli occupation forces utilizing these machines to flatten out Palestinian homes, sometimes entire buildings. It was an armored Caterpillar bulldozer that an Israeli soldier used to crush US solidarity activist Rachel Corrie to death in 2003 in Gaza.
Bulldozers have come to represent majoritarian, anti-poor state violence globally. The authoritarian, far-right ruling party of India, BJP, a close ally of apartheid Israel, has bulldozed homes and shops of working class Muslim families as “collective punishment”. From demolishing homes in a Kenyan slum for the construction of a highway to bulldozing of homes in favelas for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil - bulldozers have been a tool of oppression across the world.
In 2017, BDS 48, consisting of Palestinian citizens of Israel, called for boycotting and divesting from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) until it ends its complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights. This call has been supported by Palestine solidarity and human rights activists in South Korea as well. At the time, HHI was involved in apartheid Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in Al Naqab. HHI continues to be involved in such demolitions across Bedouin villages in Al Naqab, occupied East Jerusalem as well as on a regular basis in Masafer Yatta.
A Hyundai bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home in Khallet Al-Mai on February 15, 2022. Source: Stop The Wall.
Each new instance of apartheid Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes further entrenches its settler colonialism. We need concrete measures to stop this. Efforts to stop Caterpillar, JCB and Volvo from supplying their equipment for Israel’s apartheid policies are already underway. As the communities in Masafer Yatta resist on the ground, solidarity groups must build pressure on Hyundai Heavy Industries to stop supplying their equipment to apartheid Israel and profiting from this crime against humanity.
We can do this by pressuring municipalities, universities and corporations to not contract HHI bulldozers, and by organizing divestment campaigns against the company until it ends its complicity with Israeli apartheid.
In the past, major multinationals such as Veolia and Orange have ended their ties with Israel owing to BDS pressure. Other complicit multinationals are reducing their ties with Israel as we have seen with HP companies and HSBC.
It is time to mount pressure on Hyundai Heavy Industries through boycotts and divestment to effectively support the resistance of Palestinian communities in Masafer Yatta. Join this campaign!