Security firm G4S sells Israeli arm under pro-Palestinian pressure

Security firm G4S sells Israeli arm under pro-Palestinian pressure
Security firm G4S has sold its Israeli arm, which provides services and equipment to the country's prisons, checkpoints and police force, in a move welcomed by pro-Palestinian pressure groups.
2 min read
02 December, 2016
G4S faced criticism from pro-Palestine groups over its security services in Israel [Getty]

The world's largest security company G4S has sold its Israeli business in what pro-Palestinian groups claim is caving into protests over its "complicity" in violations of Palestinian rights.

The firm's Israeli arm, which provided services and equipment to prisons, checkpoints and police forces in the country, was sold for $88 million.

Although the company has denied the sale is linked to pressure from anti-Israeli groups, campaigners have hailed its divestment as a victory.

War on Want's Ryvka Barnard said: "G4S has long profited from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, its decision to sell its Israeli business shows that our boycott and divestment campaigns work."

The arm has been accused of complicity in human rights abuses of Palestinian prisoners, including torture, and because it provides equipment used at checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.

G4S has continually denied that actions by groups such as the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement forced it into a sale.

Ashley Almanza, G4S chief executive, said on Friday the deal was part of a plan to "improve our strategic focus and capital discipline".

"G4S Israel is a well-managed business that will grow and prosper as part of the FIMI group providing a positive future for our 6,000 colleagues in Israel," he said.

The firm will retain a presence in Israel through its police training centre, Policity, which it owns in partnership with Israeli firm FIMI and infrastructure group Shikun & Binui.

Barnard said if G4S cared for human rights it would "leave the Israeli market entirely".

"G4S was servicing Israeli prisons where 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners are detained, and where torture and ill-treatment is rampant," she said.

"The detention and treatment of these prisoners breaks international law and amounts to war crimes. This is the reality we highlighted in our campaign, and it remains today. It is no wonder that G4S felt the pressure to sell.

"However, G4S remains complicit in human rights abuses through its ownership and investment in the Israeli police academy."