Polish campaign against Egged launched

Posted on April 5, 2011 by Kampania Solidarności z Palestyną.

Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine launches campaign against Egged-Mobilis, a company complicit with Israeli violations of international law

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians…”
Nelson Mandela, former South African President

“We stand united in our belief that divesting from companies that provide significant support for the Israeli military provides moral and strategic stewardship of tuition and taxpayer-funded public education money. We are all peace makers, and we believe that no amount of dialogue without economic pressure can motivate Israel to change its policy of using overwhelming force against Palestinian civilians.”
Shirin Ebadi, Iran, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mairead Maguire, Ireland, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemala, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate
Jody Williams, USA, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate

For decades, Palestinians have been denied their basic rights. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live under a brutal Israeli occupation and are subjected to daily violations of their basic human freedoms and lack basic rights as workers. Palestinian citizens are institutionally discriminated against. Refugees are denied their right to go home.

In response to a call from Palestinian civil society, including the entirety of the trade union movement, for a campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law,1 the Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine is today launching a campaign against Egged-Mobilis, a company that attacks workers’ rights in Poland and is directly involved in gross violations of international law in Palestine.

Egged, the Israeli owner of Polish bus company Mobilis, operates services for illegal Israeli settlements inside occupied Palestinian territory. It provides transport to illegal Israeli settlements inside occupied Palestinian territory and is involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail, a project that links settlements to Israel, is designed to cement Israel’s hold on occupied land that has been described as illegal by the UN. By facilitating population transfer into occupied Palestinian territory, Egged and Mobilis are actively and knowingly complicit with Israeli violations of international law.

In Poland, under the aegis of Mobilis, Egged attacks worker’s rights and is reducing the service offered to the public. Egged, one of the companies to profit most from an unpopular round of privatisation in Poland, operates throughout Poland.2 Workers’ wages, working conditions and hours have all been dramatically reduced. The Treasury Ministry is planning further privatization of public transport and Egged will have the opportunity to further tighten its grip on the Polish transport market.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory violates international law as laid out in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids population transfer into occupied territory.3 Egged profits from these violations of international law. The ICJ ruling also stated that all states are under an obligation not to “render assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction”. By providing Egged, an agent of Israeli occupation, with contracts, the Polish state is bringing into question whether it is undermining international law. The Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine, a group of concerned citizens, human rights defenders and trade unionists, calls upon the local municipalities in Poland to end their support for Israel’s illegal occupation but cutting all ties with Egged and refusing to grant the company further contracts.

Given that Egged attacks undermines working conditions in Poland and is involved in maintaining a system of settlements that violate international law and lead to the exploitation of Palestinian labour in Palestine, we also call upon the Polish trade union movement to join us in this campaign. An injury to one is an injury to all!

As citizens have a duty to uphold international law and inalienable rights – let us join together for justice and equality! Free Palestine!

– Kampania Solidarności z Palestyną.

1 http://www.bdsmovement.net/call
2 Egged-Mobilis operates services in Warsaw, Kraków, Bydgoszcz, Ciechanów, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Mława, Płock, Przasnysz and Ostrołęka, Gdańsk, and Kielce and elsewhere
3 http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&case=131&k=5a

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