UK firm’s diggers used for Palestinian home demolitions and illegal Israeli settlements
British human rights group Amnesty International says diggers and other machinery from UK construction equipment giant JCB is being used in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories for the unlawful destruction of Palestinian homes or the construction of Israel’s illegal settlements.
Amnesty said in a report Thursday that JCB's equipment is sold to an Israeli intermediary, who then sells it onward to clients that include the Israeli military. Amnesty said the use of a middleman does not absolve JCB of ensuring its equipment is not used to violate human rights.
Amnesty said a type of JCB bulldozer is known to have been used in the extensive and ongoing demolition of Palestinian properties and the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land which are illegal under international law.
Alongside its 92-page report, Amnesty’s specialist Evidence Lab has produced an interactive digital map showing dozens of specific incidents where JCB machinery was used in recent years to demolish residential and farm buildings belonging to Palestinians, to destroy water pipes and uproot large numbers of olive trees and other agricultural produce.
Amnesty said that during Israel’s 54-year-long military occupation of Palestinian territory, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and properties have been demolished by Israeli forces, with thousands of Palestinians displaced.
In the first nine months of this year alone, some 673 structures were demolished, displacing nearly 1,000 Palestinian people, according to the UK rights group.
During the past half-century, the Israeli authorities have allowed almost 700,000 settlers to move into often purpose-built settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, which the UN has repeatedly called a “flagrant violation under international law”.
Last month, Israel reportedly approved the construction of a further 3,100 new settler homes in the West Bank.
Amnesty has written to JCB warning that its failure to take appropriate steps to prevent the use of its equipment in widespread human rights violations in the Palestinian Territories puts the company in breach of its responsibilities under international human rights standards applicable to business and may be sufficiently serious to carry legal liability.