British private security company G4S helps the Israeli government to run prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are detained.
Right now, there are more than 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including 183 children. Human rights organisations have documented widespread torture, including of children, and Palestinians are often held without trial indefinitely.
Inside the prisons, Palestinian political prisoners suffer from severe overcrowding, insufficient quality and quantity of food, medical neglect, isolation, and regular attacks from Israeli Special Forces. G4S is at the heart of this system, installing and running security systems at Israeli jails.
In June 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, purchased shares in G4S worth $172m, making it one of the company’s biggest shareholders.
The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”.
But through its holdings in G4S, the Gates Foundation is legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture, mass incarceration and arbitrary arrest to discourage Palestinians from opposing Israel’s apartheid policies.
Last February, the Israeli military arrested Palestinian student Arafat Jaradat. Arafat was tortured in the Al Jalameh interrogation centre, where G4S installed and maintains the security systems. Just seven days after his arrest, he was found dead in a cell in another prison that G4S helps to run with three broken ribs, severe bruising all over his body and blood in his nose and mouth. He left behind a pregnant wife and two children.
By working so directly in support of Israel’s prison system, G4S is complicit in Israel’s violations of the Geneva Convention, Article 76 of which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier.
G4S also provides security for Ofer Military Court in the West Bank, the sole purpose of which is to imprison Palestinians, including hundreds of children and human rights defenders each year. Israel’s military courts have a conviction rate of over 99 per cent and serve an important element in maintaining Israel’s occupation.
All across the world, universities, banks, charities and trade unions have cut links with G4S because of their role in Israel’s abhorrent prison system.
With a personal wealth of $76 billion dollars, Bill Gates was just named the richest man in the world. Surely his foundation can afford not to invest in grave human rights abuses?
Tell Bill Gates to divest now!
More info: http://www.addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=670