Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ikea attempts to dodge responsibility for Israel store’s discriminatory delivery practices


Ikea shows no intention of ending delivery of its products to Israel’s illegal settlement colonies in the West Bank, a 10 December letter from the furniture giant shows.

For years, Ikea has been facilitating the delivery of products from its Israeli stores to residents of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Ikea has been informed several times that facilitation of such transport services boils down to complicity with Israel’s settlement colony enterprise.

Ikea was asked by the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to respond to the fact that Ikea in Israel’s transport company, Moviley Dror, delivers to Israeli settlements but refuses to deliver products to Palestinian population centers in the occupied West Bank, as I reported on my Electronic Intifada blog last month.

In its response (which can be downloaded from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre website), Ikea attempts to evade responsibility for this blatant discrimination and normalization of an illegal situation and fails to address its delivery to Israel’s West Bank settlements. The company simply states that its local franchisee is responsible for the local management, investments and business decisions related to the Ikea stores in Israel. more

Israel allows gravel to enter Gaza for first time since 2007


GAZA (Reuters) -- Israel allowed a shipment of gravel for private construction to enter Gaza on Sunday for the first time since Hamas seized control in 2007.

A Palestinian official with knowledge of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended eight days of fighting last month between Israel and Gaza militants said the move had been expected as part of the deal.

"This is the first time gravel has been allowed into Gaza for the Palestinian private sector since the blockade," said Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian crossings official overseeing the shipment of 20 truckloads of the material.

Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas took power five years ago. But under international pressure, Israel began to ease the restrictions in 2010 and has allowed international aid agencies to import construction material. more

Israel to seize Jerusalem village land to construct wall


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities issued notices on Friday to annex 456 dunams of land from a Jerusalem village in order to build part of its separation wall, local officials said.

Head of Beit Iksa village council Kamal Hababa said villagers were shocked when they saw the notices detailing plans to seize agricultural land, officials news agency Wafa reported.

The notices invited residents to participate in a tour with Israeli military officers along the proposed route of the barrier, Hababa said, adding that villagers refused to take part and vowed to confront soldiers if they come to the village.

The wall, when finished, will surround the village on all sides and annex around 12,000 dunams of agricultural land used for growing olive trees and grape vineyards.

Beit Iksa's 2,000 residents will be left with only 300 dunams of land for natural growth and will be separated from Jerusalem and isolated from the rest of the West Bank, Jerusalem governorate official Muhammad Tari said. more