The Danish-British security firm G4S recently confirmed in a letter its involvement in the Israeli occupation and violations of international law — reported on last month by The Electronic Intifada.
After the publication of The Electronic Intifada’s report on 15 December 2010, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre asked G4S to respond to the investigation as well as a 28 November 2010 article published by Press TV ( “‘Firm sold torture instruments‘”).
Within a week G4S replied, confirming that it had withdrawn from contracts providing security officers to residential settlements in the West Bank in 2002. “However, we continue to serve major commercial customers, for instance supermarket chains, whose operations include the West Bank,” the company stated ( the letter can be downloaded from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s website).
G4S claims in its letter that the commercial clients in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank serve the general public. The company wrote that contracts include the provision of security officers to protect the premises of “commercial clients who serve the general public” in the occupied West Bank. However, G4S fails to address that Israeli settlements serve an exclusively Jewish population and are built illegally on occupied Palestinian land.
By providing security services to illegal settlement businesses, G4S facilitates Israel’s violations of international law. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the illegality of the construction of the wall and settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. According to the ICJ, construction activities should stop immediately and the wall and settlements be dismantled.
G4S tries to downplay its involvement by stating that the number of security officers deployed in the West Bank is “generally less than twenty and currently stands at eight.” However, violation of international law remains a violation, no matter the size.
A company closely associated with the security firm once known as Blackwater has won a new State Department contract worth more than $84 million over five years.
The contract was won by International Developments Solutions, a joint venture that includes U.S. Training Center, a company until recently owned by Xe Services, which changed its name from Blackwater following a cascade of legal problems over several years.
The consortium will provide protective security in the Israel-occupied West Bank, “services that are based from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
The initial contract, awarded Jan. 3, is for one year, “with the possibility of four, one-year renewable options” with a total value of roughly $84.3 million, Toner said.
International Development Solutions (IDS) is a joint venture between majority partner Kaseman, a McLean, Va., firm whose board is stocked with top former State Department and CIA officials, and U.S. Training Center (USTC), a onetime Blackwater affiliate that former officials say still employs many of its operatives.