Victory for BDS campaign as arms firm axed
04 September 2009
Norway drops Israeli company due to pressure from War on Want partner
War on Want applauds Norway's decision to exclude Elbit Systems Ltd. from the government pension fund. The move to eject the Israeli firm, which has been heavily involved in the building of the illegal Separation Wall in the Occupied West Bank, marks an important victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
In its decision to exclude the fund, Norway's Council of Ethics cited the 2004 International Court of Justice ruling that declared the Separation Wall to be illegal. Elbit Systems supplies essential components for the building of the Wall, including surveillance technology, and is also a manufacturer of weapons used to sustain Israel's Occupation of Palestine.
The move to drop Elbit comes after long campaign of pressure from the Stop the Wall campaign, a War on Want partner organisation based in the West Bank. The only Palestinian rights group to lobby Norway's pension fund, Stop the Wall targeted Elbit because of the firm's material support for the illegal Occupation and crimes against the Palestinian people. According to a briefing paper written by Stop the Wall, Elbit supplied arms to Israel in the full knowledge that these weapons would be used against civilians in Palestine and Lebanon.
Elbit's exclusion from Norway's state pension is the latest victory for the BDS campaign, which calls on companies and consumers to cease financial and economic support for Israel until it complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians. Earlier this year the Church of England divested from Caterpillar, a company which sells bulldozers that were being used to destroy Palestinian homes, schools, orchards and olive groves.
War on Want is now asking that the UK government follow Norway's example and divest from Elbit. The arms manufacturer has won contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence worth millions of pounds to build unmanned drone aircraft for British military forces. These aircraft and other weaponry being developed by Elbit have been tested against civilian populations in Lebanon and Palestine.
As part of its Stop Arming Israel campaign, War on Want has been leading the call for a two-way embargo on arms sales between the UK and Israel.