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Human Rights NGOs: German company involved in Israel’s colonial polluting efforts

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- A German multinational company is complicit in Israel’s stealing and polluting of natural resources in the West Bank city of Salfit, with serious human and environmental rights violations against native Palestinians, a new report by two human rights organizations stated.

For more than 13 years, the German multinational HeidelbergCement has been involved in Israeli colonial efforts in the West Bank, which include land grabbing, stealing of natural resources, and dust pollution, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and Al-Haq shows.

The Nahal Raba quarry, located in Salfit on the West Bank, has denied Palestinian communities access to their lands and sources of livelihoods.

Hanson Israel, the subsidiary of HeidelbergCement operating the quarry, sold products from the quarry to illegal Israeli settlements. The German multinational also pays royalties to the Israeli Civil Administration, the body administering the occupied Palestinian territory, according to the report.

“HeidelbergCement’s presence in the area is a clear example of multinational corporations’ involvement in Israel’s prolonged occupation, systemic human rights abuses and the denial of citizen’s fundamental right to self-determination and sovereignty over natural resources”, the report stated.

While the German multinational and the State of Israel pocket the profits of depleting the quarry’s ‘white gold’, the Palestinian economy is stripped of millions of dollars annually in this sector, the report added.

“According to local testimonies, the crushing of stones in the quarry, day and night, comes with loud explosions and covers parts of the neighbouring communities of Al-Zawiya and Rafat with dust, affecting crops and air quality.”

Maha Abdallah, from Al-Haq, said, “HeidelbergCement should immediately and responsibly cease all its activities on appropriated Palestinian land and in illegal Israeli settlements, and make reparations to Palestinians affected, including to those whose lands it has – in conjunction with the occupation authorities, unlawfully exploited”.

The report added that HeidelbergCement has seemingly deployed a number of strategies to avoid responsibility for its violations against international law and human rights. It denies that its operations are on unlawfully confiscated land and hides behind policies and measures imposed by the Occupying Power for the confiscation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources.

Lydia de Leeuw, from SOMO, said: “The behavior of HeidelbergCement is not unique. Worldwide we see companies using strategies to avoid responsibility or being held accountable for human rights abuses and environmental damage. We want to motivate duty bearers to close the governance gaps that allow these strategies to be applied.”

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