Members of Philly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) coalition arrived at 7:45 am on September 12, 2012 at the Philadelphia Convention Center, current site of the 58th annual seminar and expo by the ASIS International Foundation, a global organization formerly known as the American Society for Industrial Security. Philly BDS activists displayed a banner which read “G4S: Enforcing Israeli Apartheid” to protest and demand accountability from G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law. G 4S helps to maintain and profits from Israel’s prison system.
Palestinian political prisoners face systematic torture and ill-treatment during their arrest and detention at the hands of the Israeli military. The severity of injustice and abuse suffered by Palestinian political prisoners has recently been the drive for many prisoners to use hunger strikes as a protest against harsh prison conditions, torture and ill treatment and Israel’s arbitrary use of administrative detention. Hunger strikes continue today, as Samer al Barq entered his 114th day of hunger strike, Hassan Safadi his 84th, and Ayman Sharawna his 74th.
G4S’s involvement in Israeli apartheid and occupation goes beyond the prison walls. It has provided equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank that form part of the route of Israel’s illegal Wall and to the terminals isolating Gaza. G4S has also signed contracts for equipment and services for the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters and to private businesses based in illegal Israeli settlements.
In response to pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, the European Union has announced that it has not renewed its contract for security services with G4S. Edinburgh University Student Association also blocked its contract with G4S.
As part of the global movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law, Philly BDS today calls upon public and civil society institutions and also on private companies to end their relationships with G4S.
Contact: Matt Graber