Disgraced security firm still hasn’t pulled out despite promise
PRO-PALESTINE campaigners demonstrated in London and Manchester yesterday calling on disgraced security company G4S to withdraw from Israel and Palestine.
The company announced in March that it planned to “exit” Israel and Palestine, where it runs prisons for the Israeli security forces, and provides security at checkpoints along Israel’s illegal “apartheid wall” which cuts off Palestinian communities.
In Surrey protesters rallied outside G4S’s annual shareholders’ meeting, despite the fact that the firm switched from its usual central London venue in the hope of deterring protesters.
However, campaigners with trade union-backed charity War on Want, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group (BDS) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PCS) targeted the meeting anyway.
In Manchester Palestine supporters handed in a letter to G4S, calling on it to give a date for its withdrawal from Israel and Palestine.
The letter was signed by the general secretaries of unions Unite, Unison, National Union of Teachers, Fire Brigades Union, building workers union Ucatt, and the heads of War on Want, PCS and the Greater Manchester Stop G4S campaign group.
The Morning Star asked G4S to clarify its position on withdrawal from Israel and Palestine.
G4S director of media Nigel Fairbrass said: “There are a couple of dates. We committed back in 2013 that we would not renew the contracts that apply to technology and services we supply to Israeli prisons and that this would expire by the end of 2017.
“Then there is another theoretical date, that in March this year we intended to sell our Israeli business in its entirety. We said that our timetable for selling this business was, roughly speaking, in the next 12 to 24 months.
“So all these contracts will expire in 2017, and second, we said in March we were going to sell our Israeli business and that is in process.”
But War on Want military and security campaigner Ryvka Barnard said: “The problem is that the company has made commitments like this before but has not followed through. When it comes down to it, it should be withdrawing immediately, and we should not take it at its word.”