UN Lists JCB for Violations in the Occupied Territory
On Wednesday 12 February 2020, the UN Human Rights Office issued a long-awaited report identifying 112 companies involved in business activities in settlements in the Occupied Palestine Territory which violate Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Among the companies identified is JCB, whose bulldozers and pneumatic drills have been used to demolish Palestinian homes to clear land for the construction of settlements, actions in gross violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. Read the UN Human Rights Office report here.
JCB to be investigated following LPHR’s OECD Guidelines complaint (12 October 2020)
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) has announced that UK National Contact Point (a government body which is part of the Department for International Trade) has just published its Initial Assessment decision on the human rights complaint against JCB under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The UK National Contact Point has accepted that key aspects of the LPHR complaint are “material and substantiated”, in relation to the use of JCB’s heavy machinery in Israel’s illegal demolitions and settlement-related construction in the occupied Palestinian territory that result in serious human rights violations.
This news strengthens the arguments that ICAHD UK has made to the NSPCC in our call for it to stop taking tarnished money from JCB. In addition, it also adds weight to our campaign for JCB as we have called for it to stipulate to its Israeli customers that JCB equipment is not to be used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures. Read the LPHR press release here.
ICAHD UK has responded to this news by submitting the following letter to the Guardian:
It is extremely good news that the British company JCB is to be investigated by a branch of the UK Government (JCB challenged over machinery used to demolish Palestinian homes, guardian.com 12 October). This is an important test case to determine how far multinational companies are responsible for the use of their products: JCB equipment is used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law. ICAHD UK, along with other human rights groups, has been calling on JCB for some time to carry out its corporate human rights responsibilities under UN and OECD guidelines. Hopefully this new test case will at last prompt JCB to act – better late than never.
On 12th November 2021 the UK National Contact Point, a governmental body part of the Department for International Trade, confirmed that JCB ‘s business practises do violate human rights in that their machinery has been used in illegal activities – both the demolition of Palestinian homes and properties and the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, each are war crimes according to international law. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights which brought the case of JCB before the NCP issued this statement.
Read ICAHD’s Demolition and Displacement Reports for detailed listing of demolitions and displacements in the OPT and Israel
Regularly updated information on demolitions and displacements within the OPT and Israel may be found in ICAHD’s monthly demolition and displacement reports.
Humsa Al-Bqai’a flattened for the 7th time on 7th July 2021
The Palestinian herding community of Humsa Al-Bqai’a (Khirbet Hamsa in Hebrew) was demolished yet again by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) on Wednesday, 7th July 2021 following previous demolitions in November 2020 and February 2021.
Israeli authorities argue that it needs this land as a “firing zone” for conducting military training and that this Palestinian community should relocate to Ein Shibli village, an area outside of the Jordan Valley, in the Nablus Governorate. The residents have refused to move on grounds that this amounts to forced displacement which is a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention as is the demolition of their homes and structures vital for living.
On Wednesday the ICA, accompanied by the military, held the residents at gunpoint and told them that they were to get on a bus and leave immediately but they refused. Therefore, the ICA proceeded to demolish a total of 27 structures including homes, animal shelters, and water tanks. All personal belongings were confiscated as were their food supplies and water. The residents were left without even milk for their children or fodder for their 4000 sheep.
Eleven households, comprising around 70 people, including 36 children, were left without shelter in yesterday’s scorching heat that reached 39 degrees C. Included in the demolition was destruction of humanitarian aid that had been provided by donors including NGOs, EU Humanitarian Aid and European countries including the UK. Read more, including statement by James Cleverly, UK Foreign Minister, on 15 April 2021 here…
Five Demolitions of Humsa Al Bqai’a During February – Demolitions soaring in 2021 (26 February 2021)
So far during February the Bedouin community of Humsa Al Bqai’a (Khirbet Hamsa) located in the north part of the Jordan Valley has been demolished five times – on the 1st, 8th, 14th, 16th and 22nd. This is the same village that was demolished on 3 November during the largest mass demolition in the previous ten years, and when the eyes of the world were on the US Presidential election. Israel is determined to clear more parts of Area C, forcibly displacing the indigenous Palestinian population, and reserving it for Israeli use following its settler-colonial policy to take as much land as possible in historic Palestine.
According to Stop the Wall, a Palestinian grassroots organisation, on 1st February, tens of armed Israeli soldiers accompanied four British-made JCB bulldozers that reduced the entire village of Humsa to rubble. While Palestinians were trying to rebuild their demolished community, the Israeli army arrived. They confiscated the building materials and demolished the tents provided to the residents of Humsa from the International Red Cross.
After each subsequent demolition, humanitarian aid was provided, including from the EU and UK, but the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) continued to return with bulldozers causing more destruction and with the aid confiscated. Read more…
There is ample photographic evidence of the use of JCB equipment being used to demolish Palestinian homes and illegally construct Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land including on 25 November 2020 when JCB bulldozers were involved in demolitions in the South Hebron Hills. In Massafer Yatta this included seven residential homes, two toilet units and severing two kilometres of water pipes. Some examples are available here.
Actions you can take
1 Write to Lord Bamford, the Chairman of JCB and to your MP highlighting the involvement of JCB in illegal demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within Israel.
Sample letters, that can be amended as desired, are available here
Contact details for your MP may be found here.
2 Contact your local JCB Dealership.
JCB Dealerships have a close relationship with JCB Head Office. Write to your local dealership highlighting JCB’s illegal activities within Palestine / Israel.
List of JCB Dealerships
- C. Harrison (link to https://www.tchjcb.com/about-us/about-tc-harrison-jcb)
- Gunn JCB (link to https://gunn-jcb.com/)
- Greenshields JCB (link to https://www.greenshieldsjcb.com/depot_finder/)
- Dealer locations: Farnham, Barking, Braintree, Burgess Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Totton and Wrotham
- Holt JCB (link to http://www.holtjcb.co.uk/contact/our-depots)
- Dealer locations: Blandford, Bristol, Bodmin, Cheltenham, Exeter and Port Talbot)
- Scot JCB (link to https://www.scot-jcb.com/depot-finder/)
- Glasgow central office
- Dealer locations: Aberdeen, Alnwick, Carlisle, Carnworth, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Muir of Ord, Newcastle, Haddington and Kelso (Kelso and Lothian Harvesters), Forfar, Fraserborough, Huntly, Perth and Glenrothes (these five A. M. Phillip Agritech).
To find the names and postal addresses for Company Directors for each of these dealerships see (link to https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/search/companies)
Once you have found the dealership go to ‘People’ tab and you will see names and business postal addresses of the Directors (nb this also shows details for Directors who have resigned – you only want active Directors).
3 Protest Outside your local JCB Dealership.
Highlight the issues by protesting outside your local JCB dealership or JCB headquarters. Press cuttings and photos from previous demonstrations may be viewed here.
Please ensure you follow all Covid-19 guidelines when organising or participating in any protest.
4 Write to your MP highlighting the soaring rates of demolitions in 2021
The five demolitions of Humsa Al Bqai’a during February can be used as an illustration. Contact details for your MP may be found here.
5. Read the Amnesty report on JCB released 18 November 2021
Download the report ‘JCB Off Track: Evading responsibility for human rights violations committed with JCB machines in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ here.
Examples of Completed Actions in this Campaign
Graphic footage of JCB bulldozers demolishing Palestinian property has been projected onto a wall next to the NSPCC’s London office to highlight that the NSPCC has accepted £5 million in donations from JCB despite the latter’s bulldozers being routinely used to destroy homes, water infrastructure, animal shelters and olive groves.
JCB shamed for record on human rights in Palestine during London projection
Shocking pictures and film footage of JCB bulldozers demolishing a Palestinian property were projected in English and Arabic on to a wall at a central London building on 25th November 2021.
ICAHD UK commissioned a specialist film unit to reveal the appalling images of destruction to draw attention to JCB’s complicity in war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory where homes, farms, water infrastructure, animal shelters and orchards are routinely destroyed. Read more…
Campaigners provide a tuneful warning to JCB over complicity in Israeli demolition crimes
Corporate Occupation is an established and growing movement in solidarity with Palestine.
They are an important partner to ICAHD UK working ‘on the ground’ in Palestine / Israel, collecting evidence of Israel’s illegal policy of demolition and displacement and the complicity of JCB and other companies in these actions.
ICAHD UK was delighted to be able to provide the major funds for the preparation of Corporate Occupation’s new handbook detailing the role of JCB equipment, and that of other companies, in the demolition of Palestinian homes and other essential structures. Read more here or you can download the full report as an ebook here.
JCB’s Complicity in Israeli War Crimes – Statistics are in for 2020
ICAHD UK has been proud to support research undertaken by the Shoal Collective in compiling statistics for the use of British made JCB bulldozers in the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures during 2020. The Collective works in conjunction with Corporate Occupation to provide such information in response to the call from the hundreds of Palestinian civil society organisations and trade unions for boycotts, sanctions, and divestment (BDS), a call also made by ICAHD in January 2005. The Collective’s focus links directly to ICAHD’s work in campaigning for the end of home demolitions. Use these new statistics to write to JCB insisting that it stop sales of its machines to Israeli agent Comasco that supplies JCB equipment to the Israeli military and Israeli Civil Administration.
JCB has been named by the UN as a company involved in Israel’s home demolitions and settlement construction, illegal under international law. It is currently being investigated by UK National Contact Point (a government body which is part of the Department for International Trade) for violating guidelines stipulated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Also notify your MP of these statistics.
View the full Shoal Collective report here. Look out for the 2021 edition of Resisting Demolitions in Palestine which is soon to be released as a downloadable ebook.
Watch our Webinars
Hear from activists both on the ground in Palestine / Israel and in the UK in the following ICAHD UK webinars on ‘Resisting Demolitions from Outside Palestine’:
- Resisting demolitions outside Palestine – 17 November 2021
- No more Status Quo: End Israeli demolitions and Displacement Now – 23 June 2021
- Resisting Demolitions from Outside Palestine (Part 2) – 11 November 2020
- Resisting Israel’s Demolitions from Outside Palestine (Part 1) – 26 September 2020