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JCB faces government probe over machinery used to demolish Palestinian homes

Israeli excavators demolish the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank on 23 September 2020 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli excavators demolish the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank on 23 September 2020 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Manufacturing giant JCB is to be investigated by the British government following claims that machinery built by the company is used by the Israel Defence Forces to demolish Palestinian homes and build illegal colonial-settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The news comes after Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) lodged a complaint last year with Britain’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, situated in the Department of International Trade. The lawyers involved claim that JCB contributes and is directly linked “through their business operations” to Israel’s home demolition policies targeting Palestinians.

The complaint alleges that JCB products have been used in incidents in ten villages or areas in the occupied Palestinian territories between 2016 and 2019. In total, 89 homes were demolished in these incidents, displacing at least 484 individuals.

The NCP said that complaints made by the charity against JCB in relation to the use of its machinery in Israel’s illegal demolitions and settlement construction in the occupied territories warranted further investigation.

According to the Guardian, the company gave Prime Minister Boris Johnson £25,000 for his leadership campaign. The firm has given the Conservative Party more than £10 million since 2010.

Tareq Shrourou, the director of LPHR, welcomed the NCP’s initial assessment and its call to liaise between the legal charity and JCB.

“JCB’s apparent failure to address the material and prolific use of its products in demolition and displacement incidents that cruelly impact Palestinian families, and also its use in settlement-related construction, which creates pervasive human rights violations, must cease immediately,” insisted Shrourou. “We look forward to engaging constructively with JCB and expect it will do the right thing by complying with its human rights responsibilities.”

The LPHR official added that the charity’s objective of ending JCB’s “unacceptable involvement in human rights violations against Palestinians should be a shared one.”

READ: Israel approves hundreds of new settlement units in occupied West Bank

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