Wednesday, 16 October 2013

UK union head calls on G4S to end Israel contracts

One of the UK’s biggest unions on Friday called for controversial security firm G4S to pull out of Israel. The British-Danish security giant has been a major target for activists because of its involvement with several Israeli prisons.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, wrote to G4S arguing:

I understand that your activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories only account for approximately one percent of G4S profits.

However, I believe that the reputational risks that these activities pose for your company are far greater [than profit] and I would urge you withdraw now from doing business in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

In the press release announcing Prentis’ letter to G4S’s chief executive Ashley Almanza, UNISON listed the giant firm’s complicity.

It provides security for Ketziot and Megiddo prisons in Israel, to which Palestinians are transferred in breach of the Geneva convention’s stipulation not to detail prisoners outside an occupied territory. It runs the central command room at Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank, and runs security systems at Kishon and Jerusalem detention centers, where there is evidence that Palestinians are tortured. more

Israeli troops enter Gaza every three days - Oxfam

Israel’s military incursions into the besieged, occupied Gaza Strip increased sharply in September.

Israeli ground forces entered the occupied territory nine times in September, up from twice in August, according to UK-based development agency Oxfam in its October report on the situation in Gaza.

That’s about once every three days.

Shooting at farmers

There was also a 30 percent increase in fire by Israeli occupation forces toward Palestinians in farmland along the Gaza boundary since July and August.

The “Israeli army has fired warning shots at farmers, forcing them to leave, and conducted land leveling operations,” Oxfam said.

“On 30 September, Israeli military shot and killed a Palestinian man approximately 400 meters from the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel,” Oxfam reported.

“In a separate incident, Israeli military shot and injured another man approximately 200 meters from the fence, before detaining him. According to their families, the two men were attempting to cross into Israel in search of work.” more

Hamas, Fatah leaders in Eid phone call

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Leaders of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas spoke via telephone on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, stressing the need for reconciliation, a Hamas official said Tuesday.

Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh spoke to President Mahmoud Abbas of the "need for a return to national unity and an end to division" during the late night conversation, a Hamas official said on condition of anonymity.

The two men exchanged greetings for Eid al-Adha, which Muslims began celebrating on Tuesday.

The Hamas movement and its rival Fatah, Abbas' party that dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, have been at odds since Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Since signing an Egyptian-brokered deal in 2011 they have been attempting to heal their rifts. more