Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea (PPS) welcomes Hyundai’s ending its ties with AEG. In the last ten years we’ve seen Hyundai excavators imported by AEG used to destroy Palestinians homes.
PPS recently sent a letter to Hyundai Heavy Industries to enquire about their relationship with Israeli company Automotive Equipment Group (AEG) concerning the Robex 320 LC-7A excavator deal. Hyundai replied that they had “stopped the deal with AEG and already sent an official notification letter early in January 2013.”
The Israeli authorities destroy Palestinians’ houses and force them onto the streets stating that Palestinians who have been living on the land since before the state of Israel even existed are no longer permitted to live there. Moreover, while Palestinians continue to be displaced as their homes are destroyed, Israel never grants permission to Palestinians to construct new buildings.
The Israeli authorities notify the Palestinians in advance that they will demolish their houses, but never inform them of when it will happen. Usually, at daybreak, fully-armed Israeli troops come to a house and force the sleeping occupants to pack up their belongings and evacuate their home, and within 15 minutes and an excavator starts to demolish the house. Palestinians even have to pay for the cost of the house demolition.
Hyundai’s excavator is being used in this process along with excavators made by American companies Volvo and Caterpillar. When we asked Hyundai whether they knew that Hyundai’s excavator was the main equipment used to demolish Palestinian homes, they replied that they “never supplied the excavators for a specific purpose” but “simply provided them to the private sector, but not for military purposes”. They also stated that “we know that our excavators were also used in Palestine for construction (reconstruction).”
There is ample evidence available from a simple Google search of the use of Hyundai’s excavators for house demolitions in Palestine. Our intention here is to point out that the Israel’s policy of displacement clearly violates international law and Hyundai’s involvement violates its own management philosophy to “contribute to social development as a global corporate citizen.”
Excavators constructed by Hyundai or other companies such as Volvo and Caterpillar should not be used in the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes. Although Hyundai ended its contract with AEG, it is likely that we will continue to see those excavations already sold to AEG continue to be used destroy homes.
PPS will continue to monitor Hyundai’s actions closely to see whether they renew their ties with Israeli companies in the future.
Endnote: A check was made in June 2014 by PPS, which showed that Hyundai has continued to be complicit with Israel’s violations of international law, in particular the wanton destruction of Palestinian homes, and as such a target for BDS. At the time of writing, EFCO is Hyundai’s official representative in Israel.