Israel supporting companies suffer loss

PressTV – Sat Apr 9, 2011 3:14PM
Interview with Sarah Colborner, Director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Palestinian Solidarity Campaign-Ireland
Israeli companies Havah and Veolia, which both share complicity in illegal Israeli crimes and settlements, have been forced to close their doors after extensive protesting.

Press TV interviewed the Director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborner regarding the protests which led to the closure of Havah, an Israeli shop selling Dead Sea products abstracted from Palestinian territories, labeled with “made in Israel,” and then sold.

Press TV: Why is this a victory being claimed by campaigners?

Colborner: We’ve been campaigning outside that store for two years, and pressing Havah because of the way the company is so complicit in Israel’s occupation and crimes. Israel has a factory in the West Bank in a settlement.

It exports Dead Sea products and markets them as labeled “made in Israel.” So we have been targeting Havah for two years now protesting outside the store. It’s a major victory that they have been forced to close that store, and they will have to look for other premises to trade from.

Press TV: Are we saying that this is a BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) victory or they have just followed their own proprietors?

Colborner: It’s a BDS victory. Even the Jewish Chronicle made it clear that this was the results of the protests that had been taken place outside this store.

Press TV: That’s not what the company is saying though is it?

Colborner: No, but it was very clear from the responses of other managers from the shops in the area that they were all lobbying that the landowner did not renew the lease and Havah was not able to continue in the street.

The impact of the protests on other shops in the streets was such that they felt they wanted to get rid of Havah from that street themselves.

Press TV: What might this mean for the company because they are not shutting down. They are just moving on.

Colborner: No, but again according to the same article last week they made losses of 550,000 pounds, and so what we are saying is crime doesn’t pay. Complicity in Israel’s crimes of occupation does not and must not pay.

More and more companies, Havah and Veolia which just lost their opportunity to bid for a contract in South London, which was a contract worth 1bn pounds, are also learning that complicity in Israel’s crimes doesn’t pay.

Press TV: Tell me very quickly about the Veolia contract.

Colborner: Again this is part of a campaign that’s been launched not just in Britain, but world-wide against Veolia, which again is complicit in the Israeli occupation. It was involved in constructing and operating the travel line system connecting settlements in Jerusalem.

It also runs busses at illegal settlements, and operates a land field site in the West Bank. They have lost contracts because of their complicity. We have also seen local authorities and other authorities in Scotland, Whales and Ireland passing policies against Veolia’s practices that are obviously complicit in Israel’s occupation.

Press TV: The cross over between activism and making direct links between the money coming in from your pocket, and what is going on with the regime over there is very real for you.

Colborne: Absolutely and I think another point your correspondent made is that the situation on the ground for Palestinians living under occupation, or living as citizens of the Israeli state is incredibly difficult. We have responsibilities internationally to do what we can. It’s very easy for us to boycott Israeli goods for example. It just means if you’re in a supermarket you check your labels.

It’s very easy to join the protests, and there are often online protests against Havah and Veolia and other complicit firms. So it’s really about people here who are supporting peace, justice and international law. They have a responsibility to themselves to act, and boycotting is a very easy way of acting and making sure that your money does not get into the pockets of those who profit from Israel’s occupation.

Press TV: You talked about law. What has happened with Judge Richard Goldstone?

Colborne: From a lot of the stories, IIan Pappe for example wrote a very clear piece about the amount of pressure Goldstone has been under.

Press TV: But he’s been under this pressure since day one. The terms of abuse were directed at him and the team that came up with this report.

Colborne: Certain Israelis were boasting that much of it was done behind the scenes. Some of it was done openly that we were aware of, and there were other parts we were not aware of. However, the important part to note is the fact that Goldstone is only one of the four who went out for that fact finding mission.

The other three have not joined in with Goldstone. Hina Jilani has made a very clear statement that nothing has changed and that report still stands. The report was only one of many reports again that were issued to look at the crimes that had been committed by Israel during operation Cast Lead.

Press TV: But to be fair, it’s the one that everyone has used as almost a definitive guide as to what may have taken place.

Colborne: No matter what the Israeli government does to try and draw a line over their crimes and prevent international justice from taking place, the fact is those crimes were still committed. That is the important thing. We will still be campaigning for the victims of war crimes to achieve justice despite the situation with Goldstone. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a retraction. I think that this is part of a plan by the Israeli government to try and change international law.

They want to prevent soldiers and politicians from facing justice. They want to ensure that they will be able to act again without their hands being tied. We are seeing exactly what is happening in Gaza at the moment. We are seeing a double pronged attack by Israel. First they are trying to change international law to prevent them from being brought to justice, and secondly to escalate the military assault on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Press TV: What is the latest with the Flotilla?

Colborne: I was on the last Flotilla, on the Mavi Marmara. I think the lesson from that very clearly was although it was an extremely high price paid by the nine martyrs and their families. The impact of those of us sailing over there and the millions that followed us were immense. We did see the world realizing that something had to be done about the siege on Gaza and that they would no longer sit by and watch 1.5mn people placed in an inhumane and horrific blockade.

So the 2nd Flotilla came very much out of that. We have plans underway and we will be sailing at the end of May. It will be bigger in terms of ships and in terms of numbers than the previous Flotilla. For people that want to follow us, from Britain there is a Facebook and a twitter site now set up: Britain to Gaza, Britain number II and Gaza. So please do follow us. We obviously want to make sure that this is not just a Flotilla that involves the people who will be sailing on the boat. This involves all of the millions around the world who support justice of Palestinians. There is an opportunity for everybody to get involved.

Press TV: So check out the Facebook.

Colborne: It is all on our website as well. Please do get involved. This is only part of the activities we are organizing. Obviously on the 14th of May, we are organizing a protest outside David Cameron’s location at number 10 Downing St. to make sure pressure is put on the British government not just to ensure safe passage for those of us traveling to Gaza, but also to end the siege on Gaza and to free Palestine.

NM/PKH

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