discusses the background to the call for the NSPCC to stop accepting cash
donations from JCB.
linked up with possibly its biggest collaboration with other networks and
organisations to date namely: Protecting
Palestinian Families Campaign, the UK–Palestine Mental Health Network, the
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – UK (ICAHD-UK) and the Palestine
Solidarity Campaign with the aim of stepping up the pressure on the NSPCC drop
their partnership with J C Bamford Excavators
Ltd (JCB). The coalition
aims to support the efforts, led by the Protecting
Palestinian Families Campaign, to persuade the
NSPCC that it is incompatible with the charity’s core values to take donations
from JCB, a British based company that has recently been named by the United
Nations as complicit with Israel in violations of international law within the
settlements/colonies in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
March 2019 – Shoal
Collective publishes ‘Resisting
Demolitions in Palestine. A Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions Guide.
March 2019 – The
NSPCC/JCB campaign is started by a group of individuals linked with Palestine Solidarity
movement who formed the Protecting Palestinian Families
Campaign- an offshoot of ‘Stop the Demolitions’
December 2019 –
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) launch a formal complaint against
JCB, a world-leading construction equipment company headquartered in Britain.
The complaint is lodged with the UK National Contact Point (a government body
which is part of the Department for International Trade) for the OECD
Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (situated in the Department of
February 2020 –
United Nations Human Rights Office issue
a long-awaited report identifying 112 companies involved in business activities
in settlements in the Occupied Palestine Territory in violation of International
law. Among the companies identified is JCB, one of three UK companies on the
– Protecting Palestinian Families launch a postcard campaign- 3000 send out to
August 2020 – Protecting Palestinian Families and
ICAHD launch petition.
September 2020 – ICAHD UK Workshop
October 2020 – UK National Contact Point publishes its Initial Assessment decision on the human rights complaint
against JCB. The National Contact Point accept that key aspects of the LPHR
complaint are “material and substantiated” and will investigate
October 2020 – SWAN writes letter of concern to the NSPCC Chief
November 2020 – Some 73 people, including 41 children in one day,
were made homeless when their dwellings were knocked down in the Bedouin
settlement of Khirbet Humsa, in the Jordan Valley, according to a UN report.
December 2020 – NSPCC respond to Protecting Palestinian Families.
February 2021 – the same Bedouin community is demolished for the
fifth time in a month, with JCB and Volvo equipment in use.
March 2021 – Day of action against the NSPCC coordinated by
coalition of solidarity organisations and SWAN.
Some people might
think that the mass expulsions and
atrocities that accompanied the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948
and the creation of the world’s oldest refugee population are historical events.
The reality is that the state of Israel is continuing with its policy of ethnic
cleansing in what is increasingly recognised as an apartheid settler-colonial
state, as B’Tselem, Israel’s state’s leading human rights organisation, has
recently reported. In short, a
process of ethnic cleaning continues to this day.
says that during and after the Nakba of 1948, when the state of Israel was
established, it systematically demolished about 52,000 Palestinian homes, more
than 530 entire villages, towns and urban neighbourhoods. Since the beginning
of the Occupation in 1967, Israel has demolished another 55,000 homes in the
West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Thousands more continue to be demolished
inside Israel itself.
Types of Demolitions
3% of houses
are demolished are destroyed as a punishment carried out against people
associated with those houses. This policy was suspended by the Israeli army
in February 2005 after it reached the conclusion that, rather than deterring
attacks, punitive demolitions only inflame the people and lead to more
attacks. The practice was resumed on 19 January 2009,
demolished for lack of a building permit. This happens in Area C and in East
Jerusalem, under exclusive Israeli authority, though prior to the existence
of Areas A, B & C it occurred in other areas as well. It is
important to point out that in almost all cases, Palestinians have no choice
but to build “illegally” as permits will not be granted. It is also
the case that, in Area B, if a house is in close proximity to a military base
or a road used by the military or settlers, it may also face administrative
demolition. This type of demolition accounts for approximately 20% of defined
demolished by the IDF in the course of military operations for the purposes
of clearing off a piece of land (for whatever reason), to achieve a military
goal or to kill wanted persons as part of Israel’s policy of extrajudicial
executions. Military demolitions characterized the massive destruction of
Palestinian communities during the Naqba, and in the Occupied Territory they
account for about 66% of defined demolitions carried out since 1967.
is collecting information and investigating the status of many demolitions
carried out between 1967-1982, when the Civil Administration begins its work.
These include mainly demolitions resulting from land-clearing operations and
removal of Palestinian populations.
evidence against JCB
A number of
organisations have documented compelling video, photographic and
written contemporaneous evidence that substantiates the material and prolific
use of JCB products in a number of specific demolition and displacement
incidents, and in settlement-related construction.
states that the demolition policy is ‘part
of Israel’s attempt to Judaize Palestine, to transform an Arab country into a
Jewish one’. During and after the Nakba of 1948, when the state of Israel
was established, it systematically demolished about 52,000 Palestinian homes,
more than 530 entire villages, towns and urban neighborhoods. Since the
beginning of the Occupation in 1967, Israel has demolished another 55,000 homes
in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Thousands more continue to be
demolished inside Israel itself.
sources of evidence are the prominent Palestinian human rights organisation,
Al-Haq; the leading Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem; and the UK
charity, EyeWitness to Atrocities.
A key piece of
video evidence submitted with the LPHR’s complaint taken on 11 September 2019
can be viewed here.
The video footage
shows a JCB vehicle in the South Hebron hills identifiable as the model 3CX,
demolishing structures that are likely to be the six family homes reported in
the B’Tselem commentary that accompanies the video.
evidence submitted by LPHR that substantiates the material use of JCB products
in demolitions, relates to incidents in ten villages or areas in the occupied
Palestinian territory, covering a time period of 2016 to 2019. In total, 89
homes are identified as having been demolished, resulting in the displacement
of at least 484 individuals, including children and the elderly. One school
(Khirbet Tana Elementary School) is among other property documented to have
been demolished, as are water tanks.
demonstrates that vulnerable Palestinian Bedouin communities in Area C of the
occupied West Bank are frequently affected by demolitions and displacement,
with associated human rights breaches that include the violation of the right
to adequate housing under international human rights law.
Under the cover
of Covid, with the world’s attention elsewhere and the number of international observers
reduced, Israel has continued with home demolition throughout 2020.
As recently as
last month, data collectedfrom the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, B’Tselem,
Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, recorded that, for the month of
January 2021, a total of 78 demolitions took place displacing 69 people, 36
adults and 33 children.
other machines produced by other companies are involved, JCB plant is
consistently being used.
The NSPCCs response
date, the NSPCC’s response has been craven.
In replies to Protecting Palestinian Families, the NSPCC have
shown indifference and a willingness to mirror JCB’s position.
Sheren Green from ICAHD UK and Protecting Palestinian
“Co-owner Lady Carole Bamford was on record as
giving thousands to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children (NSPCC), Indeed, the house where abused children receive the support
they desperately need is called Carole House.
a carefully crafted letter was sent, acknowledging her benevolence but
informing her of the destruction and devastation her products wreaked on
innocent families, asking her to cut the company’s ties with Israel.
didn’t answer so then it was time to ask the NSPCC to cut ties with JCB – how
could they possibly accept money earned by traumatising Palestinian children?
protracted correspondence ensued. CEO Peter Wanless brushed the first letter
aside. Then each of the trustees was approached individually.
time the respondent at least stated the charity’s ethical policy which meant
they could not take money made by slavery, human trafficking or child labour.
Money made from leaving children traumatised, homeless and impoverished in
Palestine was apparently all right.
Esther Rantzen was approached – her life-saving initiative ChildLine is now
incorporated into the NSPCC – but she did not answer.”
After lengthy correspondence, the
NSPCC eventually responded in December 2020.
states that it is “not associated with
any organisation connected with slavery, human trafficking and child labour or
where a director or officer has been convicted of a sexual offence” and as
JCB is not identified within these criteria, the NSPCC does not agree that JCB
has a case to answer.
The NSPCC accepts that JCB is included on a database published by
the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, says they have challenged
JCB on this point and understand that in reply “JCB have requested immediate
removal from the database”.
With regard to National Contact Point’s investigation following a
complaint from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, the NSPCC states that the
investigation found “the claims related to JCB contributing to abuses
of human rights does not merit further examination”.
Finally, The NSPCC have been told by JCB that “that all of the
products they supply to Israel are via a third-party independent distributor,
Comasco. They state that they have not sold any machinery directly to the
Israeli authorities. They state that once products have been sold to Comasco,
JCB has no legal ownership of them and they claim, therefore, they cannot stipulate
to whom their products can or cannot be sold to.”
There are a number of problems with the
First, the NSPCC’s ethical policy is very narrow in scope.
Second, the NSPCC seem willing to believe that JCB’s request that the UN
remove its name from the data base, is sufficient defence: the UN has clearly
not removed JCB from the list. The charity seems to make light of the fact that
according to reports, accounting for the long delay in the UN’s publication of
the list – none of the 112 companies had been identified lightly and – as you
might expect – only after lengthy correspondence with the each of the companies
named in the report.
Third, the NSPCC are being very selective in regard to the outcome of
Contact Point’s initial investigation. Whilst it is true that the Contact Point
investigation concluded that the
claims related to ‘JCB contributing to abuses of human rights’ did not
merit further examination, the Contact Point investigation did however conclude
that the JCB’s apparent breach of three key
corporate human rights responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines merited
further investigation. According to these criteria, businesses should:
- Seek ways to prevent or mitigate
adverse human rights impacts directly linked to its business operations and
products by a business relationship.
- Have a policy commitment to respect
- Carry out human rights’ due
In contrast to what
the NSPCC would like us to believe, the Contact Point complaint is far from
over. The National Contact Point is now offering the parties an opportunity to
mediate. If the parties do not want to mediate or cannot reach an agreement,
the agency will examine if JCB’s actions and policies are consistent with the
This article sets
out the background to the call for the NSPCC to stop accepting donations from J
C Bamford Excavators Ltd, a company named by the United Nations in February
2020 as in breach of its Human Rights obligations. The NSPCC claims that they
are here for ‘every child’ but not it seems, if that child lives in Palestine.
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