Edition: 06 – August, 2008
Stop the IEC!
The Israeli Electric Company (IEC) is the national provider of electricity in Israel. Like the Israeli Water Company the IEC, which is owned exclusively by the Israeli state, is used as a tool for expansionist and discriminatory policies. The IEC provides important infrastructure for settlement expansion, connecting all settlements and outposts to the electricity network. It is also party to discriminatory policies within the â48 Palestine, namely the cutting off of âunrecognized villagesâ from the national network.
Given this background, it is important that pressure be applied against the IECâs latest wave of overseas expansion. On 8 August, it was announced that the company is in talks for constructing a $2b power plant in an unnamed Asian country. Also this month, the IEC won a several million-dollar contract to build a power plant in Cyprus. Construction should finish before 2010. Given the pro-Palestinian position of the current government, this agreement must be challenged.
The IEC is also collaborating with French company Alstom, which is a shareholder in the Jerusalem light rail, on building four power plants in the UK at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. It is reported that the IEC will provide Alstom with design, management and engineering services on a number of projects, including the UK deal.
In past months, the IEC entered the Greek and South African markets. It also bid to construct a plant in India in 2007, which it won but that was vetoed within the IEC.
Along with this international expansion, the IEC has been trying to improve its image worldwide, recently joining an EU campaign aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions at power plants.
Jerusalem Light Rail: Another bank agrees with divestment from Veolia
In the campaign against the Jerusalem Light Rail, another bank has agreed that the construction of the tramway is a clear violation of international law. Bank Sarasin has stated that it will enter into “a critical dialogue with Veolia” about its role in the illegal Israeli tramway. If Veolia fails to leave the tramway project, the bank has stated that it is prepared to divest. [MORE]
While more banks continue to move away from the company involved in the project, it has been reported that the Jerusalem Municipality has held a secret meeting in which plans were unveiled for extension of city’s light train to Dung Gate, just minute’s walk from the Wailing Wall. Planners have stated that some inhabitants living along the trainâs route will have to âevacuatedâ and compensated, although the municipality has not yet state which neighborhoods will be affected. [MORE]
MIRS Communications and the IDF
The IDF has extended its contract with MIRS Communication for three more years. It includes current administration and the provision of technical and other services for 60,000 handsets used by IDF personnel. MIRS Communication, a subsidiary of Motorola, is the sole provider for the IDF. [MORE]
How Arab normalization is undermining the boycott movement
While boycott and divestment campaigns in the West become more sophisticated and widespread, the Arab world’s longstanding boycott of Israel is being undermined by Arab governments, companies and businessmen. [MORE]
MILITARY AND ARMS TRADE NEWS
Elbit Systems update
Elbit systems garnered five contracts this month, two with Boeing and three with different countries.
The first contract was won on behalf of Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins unit, who will provide helmet systems for F-15E jets to Boeing in a $17 million contract. Also, Elbit Systems unit Cyclone Aviation Products Ltd. was awarded a $31 million by Boeing to provide equipment for F-15 fighter jets.
Elbit won a several million-dollar order from the Australian Army for additional Skylark unmanned drones. The company has an additional $25 million contract to provide the same drones to an unnamed country in the Americas.
Finally, a joint venture from Elbit and Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd., has taken a $1.75 million contract for the development of infrared technology from the US Department of Defense.
India arms trade with Israel
Despite past victories, the Israel â India arms trade continues to grow. This month, the Indian government approved the acquisition of Spyder missile systems from Israel. This is in addition to other projects, including the development of âBarakâ surface-to-air missiles. [MORE]
It has also been reported that the Defense Acquisitions Council has given the go-ahead for Israeli arms deals with India, which had been delayed by Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) bribery investigations involving Israeli defense contractors. IAI is due to supply India with missile systems, launchers, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) worth $1.5 billion. [MORE]
FREE TRADE AND GOVERNMENT AGREEMENTS
New fact sheet on Israeli â LA water project
Last month, it was announced that the Los Angeles municipality would enter into joint research and development with Mekorot as well as a private Israeli research company. The Stop the Wall campaign has called for a boycott of this project, which legitimizes Israeli water practices at the expense of Palestinian communities across historic Palestine.
Download the fact sheet here.
Egypt â Israel gas deal to be heard in court in October
An Egyptian group has challenged the Israel â Egypt natural gas deal in court. Campaigners have stated that agreed price is almost 9 times too low, compared to the standard price for natural gas.
However, Israeli company Hadera Paper is conducting negotiations over a contract with East Mediterranean Gas Co. for an increased amount of Egyptian gas.
Egypt began pumping gas to Israel in February, after an energy deal under which Cairo-based East Mediterranean Gas is to sell 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas annually to state-run Israel Electric Corporation for the next 15 years. [MORE] and [MORE]
Israel moves ahead on OECD acceptance
The OECD approved the first stage of Israel’s ascension to the organization and Israeli teams are now preparing for the second stage. In the first stage, Israeli teams submitted a preliminary memorandum summarizing Israel’s position with regard to 250 legal instruments that underpin the OECD’s socioeconomic issues, and to various OECD rules.
The OECD accepted the memorandum and returned it with comments and requests for clarifications, including on tax issues. On Friday, the OECD notified that it accepted the revised memorandum and that Israel could proceed to the next stage: specific discussions by the teams on taxation, regulation, environment, energy, labor, welfare, and other issues.
Eight hearings for this purpose have been scheduled through the end of 2008. OECD delegations will visit Israel to discuss each issue with the Israeli teams. The delegations will also review the application of the legal rules used in Israel. [MORE]