Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Gates Foundation begins to divest from occupation profiteer G4S


After campaigning pressure, the Gates Foundation has sold the bulk of its shares in the world’s largest private military and security company, G4S. Over 100 Palestinian and international organisations, including War on Want, launched a campaign calling on the Gates Foundation to divest its £110m ($167m USD) stake from the company. Thanks to everyone who joined the campaign, signed the petition and participated in protests.

“We are glad the pressure on the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S is starting to work. We urge the Foundation to sell any remaining shares it still holds and release a public statement pledging not to invest in corporations profiting from Israel’s military occupation,” said Rafeef Ziadah, Senior Campaigns Officer at War on Want.

War on Want partner, Addameer Palestinian Prisoner and Human Rights Association added, “we have been arguing that it is completely unacceptable for a charitable foundation to be investing in a company, like G4S, which participates in gross human rights violations against Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners. We welcome this step in the right direction.”

The impact of the Gates Foundation, as a major shareholder, divesting the majority of its shares from G4S will be felt within the company. Campaigners will continue to target all G4S shareholders and contracts, especially in the Middle East, until the company can no longer ignore the damage its contract with the Israeli prison services is having on its reputation and profit margin. more

UN, EU back Palestinian unity government


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The European Union and United Nations on Tuesday offered public backing for the Palestinian unity government sworn in a day earlier in Ramallah.

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said during a meeting with PM Rami Hamdallah that the UN backs the unity government and hopes it will meet the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Hamdallah assured Serry that the government would commit to all previous agreements signed by the PLO.

The office of the EU High Representative said in a statement that the government was an "important step in the process of Palestinian reconciliation."

"We welcome the appointment of a government of independent personalities and the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel's legitimate right to exist, to non-violence and to the respect of previous agreements."

The EU's engagement with the new government will be dependent on whether it adheres to these principles, the statement added. more