Irish and Palestinian activists to CRH: Stop cementing apartheid!
10,000 signatures were delivered on 9 May to board members at the annual meeting of Irish multinational building materials corporation CRH by activists with the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
In a press release, John Dorman, Divestment Officer of the IPSC, stated that the call for divestment came because “CRH owns 25 percent of the Israeli company Mashav Initiative and Development Ltd, which in turn owns Israel’s sole cement producer Nesher Cement Enterprises Ltd. Nesher provide up to 90 percent of all cement sold in Israel, including cement used in the construction of Israel’s illegal [wall] and illegal settlements and checkpoints.”
According to the IPSC, CRH “remains under investigation by the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] after human rights activists from the IPSC lodged a complaint last year concerning the issue … For the past two year the issue of CRH’s investment in Israel has remained a major feature of the Annual General Meeting’s proceedings and press coverage of the event.”
The press release added that:
Two Palestinian women made impassioned pleas from the floor asking CRH to heed the 10,000 signature strong petition calling for CRH to “Stop Cementing Misery in Palestine.”
Outside, over 50 human rights activists created a colourful spectacle along Marine Road. 33 activists each held a single placard with one letter of the campaign slogan calling on CRH to divest while others held aloft 25 feet high Palestinian flags and 30 feet long Palestinian banners.
Huwaida Arraf, organizer and human rights lawyer, was one of the women speaking inside the board meeting. Arraf stated:
“I am here to plead with you not be complicit in building Israel’s ghettos of the 21st Century that my family is living in right now. You say that CRH has no control over the end use of the cement that the Nesher company produces. I’m sorry but Palestinians simply can’t accept that. We cannot accept it because you knowingly invested in this company, and you are aware that the company has built this wall and these settlements, declared by the World Court to be a violation of international law.”
“CRH should divest from Israel like other companies are doing right now, or else they face the loss of massive contracts as companies like G4S and Veolia have seen recently as a result of their complicity with Israeli apartheid. It is tainting the reputation of your company, so please do as other companies, who care morally and ethically about their investors and investments, have done and divest.”
IPSC reported that Fatin al-Tamimi (from Hebron, in the occupied West Bank) explained to the board that:
“[My] hometown is now an apartheid city because of the illegal settlements and checkpoints in its centre, built with cement from Nesher. CRH says it is committed to the highest standards of ethical, legal and moral standards. All I have to do is look at my home town, and CRH’s facilitation of Israel’s apartheid regime of occupation in Palestine, to see that this is a hollow claim. And I am not the only one.”
Tamimi then said she “would like to present the Board of Directors with a petition which has over ten thousand signatures calling on CRH to stop cementing misery in Palestine and to divest from its Israeli business interests. While most signatories are Irish, there are names here from Jacksonville to Johannesburg to Jerusalem, all united behind this call. The question is, will you listen CRH?”
IPSC reported that the petition was then handed to the CRH board “in cardboard boxes decorated to represent [Israel’s wall], while Ms. Tamimi held aloft a large placard calling on CRH to listen to the call.”