G4S Sells Off Business in Israel
An Enormous Victory for the Growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement
Security company G4S has sold most of its Israeli business amid widespread condemnation for its complicity in Palestinian human rights abuses, including illegal detention and torture of Palestinian children. The announcement follows similar moves from multinational companies including Veolia and Orange, which have withdrawn from Israel amid growing international outrage about Israel’s abuses of human rights.
Trade unions, municipalities, universities, the UK Labour party, churches, and other organizations—, heeding the call from Palestinian political prisoners and civil society—have dropped contracts with or divested from G4S due to the company's role in the Israeli occupation. As the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) grows in intensity, encouraging an end to Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ human rights, multinational companies doing business in Israel are reconsidering their relationships with the Israeli government. Friends of Sabeel North America is proud to have supported the G4S divestment campaign, alongside the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and other denominations as well as efforts leading to the cancellation of city and UN contracts with G4S.
Israeli private-equity company FIMI will buy G4S Israel. Despite this sale, G4S will remain a target of the BDS movement because of its stake in Policy, the national police training center, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group. Additionally, G4S has long been a target of human rights and civil rights campaigns for its widespread abuses ranging from juvenile detention centers in Florida to violence against demonstrators at Standing Rock. According to Riya Hassan of the BDS National Committee (BNC), “the BNC is determined to continue its campaign against G4S, in partnership with other justice struggles across the world. From the US to Palestine, from South Africa to the UK, G4S is profiting from the patently racist mass incarceration business.”
At Friends of Sabeel North America, we commend all those working for peace and justice who, together, applied immense pressure on G4S for its complicity in violating Palestinian human rights. Modeled after the movement for South African independence, the BDS movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressures Israel to comply with international law. As the momentum builds, we are pushing for the boycott and divestment of HP, which sells the biometric IDs, fingerprinting, retinal scanning equipment, and software technology necessary for Israel to deny Palestinian freedom of movement and maintain the systems of apartheid.
Friends of Sabeel North America Executive Director Tarek Abuata states, “Being a Christian voice for Palestine, we celebrate this victory as another successful direct action toward justice for Palestine. We also recognize that 319 Palestinian children remain in Israeli military detention without charge, and rededicate ourselves to working toward a full unmasking of injustice, knowing that we are part of a rich history of boycott, divestment and sanctions that is a catalyst for social justice.”