Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli diamonds

Over 50 Palestinian organisations, representing a cross-section of Palestinian civil society, including women’s groups and trade unions, and international organisations in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for equality, justice and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, have issued an appeal to women and men of conscience and jewellers worldwide to reject diamonds processed in Israel.

Samir Abed-Rabbo, a coordinator of the campaign for a global rejection of Israeli diamonds said: Revenue from Israel’s diamond industry is a major source of funding for the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes by the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Diamonds processed in Israel evade the human rights strictures of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which only bans ‚conflict diamonds‘ or rough diamonds used by rebel groups to finance conflicts against legitimate governments.

Pointing out the repeated refusal of the Kimberley Process to ban all blood diamonds he said: The failure of the Kimberley Process to broaden the definition of a ‚conflict diamond’ and ban polished diamonds that fund war crimes means that diamond purchasers are being sold blood diamonds, which are falsely labelled conflict-free by jewellers, including most, if not all, of the world’s most iconic jewellery establishments.

Decrying the lack of security for Palestinians he continued: International governments, the US and EU in particular, have failed to protect Palestinians from Israel’s diamond-funded military which last November killed 170 Palestinians, mainly civilians, including 33 children and in the last four weeks shot and killed six unarmed Palestinians. He said: Diamonds are Israel’s most important manufacturing export commodity; accounting for 30% of Israel’s manufacturing exports. Without revenue from the diamond industry Israel could not afford the financial burden of the illegal occupation, construction of Jewish colonies on Palestinian lands and the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people.

He concluded by calling on diamond-purchasers to: be wary of claims by jewellers that ‚ethically sourced’ or ‚responsibly sourced‘ diamonds are conflict-free, as the diamonds may still be blood diamonds if they were cut and polished in Israel where diamond-revenue funds a regime guilty of war crimes. Consumers should demand to know where a diamond was cut and polished as well as where it was sourced. They need to be aware that when they buy a diamond processed in Israel it is tarnished with the blood of innocent Palestinian men, women and children.

The Palestinian civil society organizations and international solidarity groups call upon:

1. Jewellers worldwide to immediately end the trade in diamonds processed in Israel, and

2. women and men of conscience the world over to reject diamonds from Israel which fund a military regime that murders, maims and terrorises innocent men, women and children with impunity.

This call is endorsed by the following Palestinian and International organisations:

1. The Association of Women Committees for Social Work (AWCSW)
2. The Society of Women Graduates
3. The Palestinian Development Women Studies Association
4. Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting
5. Women’s Affairs Center
6. Community Media Center
7. SemSem – Association for Relief and Development
8. Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction
9. Creative Women Forum
10. Muslim Women Association
11. Palestinian Association for Development and Heritage Protection
12. Al-Mustaqbal Society for Development
13. Afak Center for Women
14. Women and Community Empowerment Center
15. Nour El Marefa El Khairia Association
16. Al Aqsa Sport Club
17. Samed for Relief and Development Association
18. Palestinian Association for Truth and Justice
19. Humans without Boarder and for Social Security
20. Union of the Committees of Women in the Struggle
21. Union of the Committees of Workers in the Struggle
22. The Coast for Growth and Development
23. The European Center for Studies and Documentations
24. The Union of Agricultural Workers Committees
25. Milad Association for the Development of Youth Capabilities
26. Palestinian Renaissance Society
27. Ghassan Kanafani Development Association
28. Progressive Democratic National Gathering
29. Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
30. Labor Resources Center
31. Union of the Committees of Independent Workers
32. Akabir Group for the Art
33. CompuLife for General Services
34. Afaq Jadeeda Association
35. The Palestinian Union for Struggling Women
36. General Union of Cultural Centers
37. Union of Palestinian Engineers in the Struggle
38. Union of Palestinian Students in the Struggle
39. Progressive Students Front
40. Union of Palestinian Women
41. AL-Awda New York, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
42. Beit Conivencia
43. Free Gaza Movement
44. Free Palestine Movement
45. International Solidarity Movement – Northern California
46. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
47. Labor for Palestine (US)
48. New York City Labor Against the War
49. Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
50. Siegebusters Working Group
51. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
52. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
53. Interfaith Committee for Palestinian Rights.
54. Friends of Deir Ibzi’a
55. Bay Area Women in Black
56. 14 Friends of Palestine
57. Al Nakba Awareness Project
58. Birmingham Peace Project
59. Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace
60. CU-Divest
61. North Texas, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel Campaign
62. St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
63. International Women’s Peace Service
64. Free Gaza Scotland
65. Democratic Progressive Youth Union
66. Cultural Centre of Maghazi Association
67. Progressive Popular Front for Students
68. Heritage Benevolent Association
69. Al Mirsad for the Rights of Palestinian Refugees
70. The Palestinian Association for the Treatment of Addiction
71. The Arab People Union – All Branches
72. Arab People Parliament
73. Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign
74. Northwest BDS Coalition
75. Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle
76. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
77. Oberlin College Students for a Free Palestine

Ends.

For comment contact:

Samir Abed-Rabbo – USA – 001- 972-810-7285
Nasir Hammad – Palestine – 00-972-599-454-744
Sean Clinton – Europe – 353-87-2725300

Notes for Editors

1. – According to Israeli political economist, Shir Hever, Every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military, so the financial connection is quite clear. Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q76ktVtvgVg

2. – Cut and polished diamonds that generate revenue used to fund war crimes evade the Kimberley Process Regulations which ban ‚conflict diamonds’ described as: rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments http://bit.ly/11rzZre

3. – Israel is one of the world’s leading diamond exporters, with exports valued at $22 billion in 2011 accounting for 30% of Israel’s exports. http://www.israelidiamond.co.il/english/news.aspx?boneid=401

4. – Diamond exports added $11 billion NET to the Israeli economy in 2011. Israel’s Ministry of Defence budget in 2011 was $14 billion. http://aje.me/AbxToz

5. – The Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life. UN Human Rights Council Report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict – http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

6. – IPSC – Impunity to kill: Six Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in less than a fortnight.
http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/impunity-to-kill-six-palestinians-shot-dead-by-israeli-forces-in-less-than-a-fortnight

7. – November 2011 – Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, Brussels Communiqué calling of the inclusion of the cutting and polishing industry in the Kimberley Process
http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/Press_releases/2011/KP_CSC_Brussels_Communique_Dec2011-Engl.pdf

8. – Human Rights Watch – Israel/Gaza: Unlawful Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Media
Official statements that reflect the military having adopted an unlawful basis for attacks are evidence of war crimes because they show intent. http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/20/israelgaza-unlawful-israeli-attacks-palestinian-media

9. – Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable – “Most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes.” http://www.globalwitness.org/library/global-witness-leaves-kimberley-process-calls-diamond-trade-be-held-accountable

10. – Israel’s greatest fear – its diamond trade exposed. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Israel-s-greatest-fear—i-by-Se-n-Clinton-121027-116.html

11 – Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concludedhttp://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/impunity-war-crimes-gaza-southern-israel-recipe-further-civilian-suffering-20090702

Press Release

Friday 1st February 11:00 am GMT.