G4S claim Israel withdrawal not linked to protests

G4S-LogoG4S has confirmed it will exit contracts in Israel in 2015, but not as a direct result of recent protests from pro-Palestinian groups into its operations in the West Bank.

The company provides security equipment for a number of military checkpoints in the West Bank and holds contracts for systems at the police headquarters and also at Ofer Prison.

A Financial Times report on April 21 stated G4S was planning to quit key contracts amid protests against its involvement in settlements within occupied Palestinian territories.

However, G4S has said they made the decision to withdraw from operations in the West Bank following a review two years ago, rather than as the result of recent pressure as suggested in the article.

In a March 2011 statement, G4S said: “To ensure that our business practices remain in line with our own business ethics policy, we will aim to exit the contracts which involve the servicing of security equipment at a small number of barrier checkpoints, a prison and a police station in the West Bank area.

“We will aim to complete this exit as soon as possible, but also recognise that we have contractual obligations to our customers which we must take into consideration.”

There has been controversy surrounding G4S’s deals in the region, and international human rights groups have staged protests outside the company’s headquarters in London.

Earlier this month, a group of 19 Non-Governmental Organisations from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine called for a boycott of G4S due to its security services in Israel.

In a signed statement it called on Arab nations and the European Union to end its dealings with G4S, citing its “involvement in the support system of the occupation and Israeli repression in the face of the Palestinian people”.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress also voted to reaffirm its support for the Palestinian calls for a boycott and stated its belief the Scottish Government should cancel G4S’s new contract for tagging offenders.

However, G4S reiterate the recent high-profile criticisms have not forced its hand and it will exit the major contracts when they terminate in 2015, as outlined over two years ago.

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