Privatizing Security – Corporate Involvement in the Checkpoints
Our March newsletter focuses on companies involved in the Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. This is the first in a series of monthly short reports by the Who Profits project, of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. These monthly reports will be published on our recently launched new website, where you can also subscribe to our newsletter.
Israeli military checkpoints are spread throughout the occupied West Bank, and they have a direct and devastating effect on the daily lives of Palestinians. This elaborate control system fragments families and communities, paralyzes the Palestinian production and trade and prevents a viable political existence. These impacts are well documented, yet the involvement of companies in the operation, equipment and maintenance of the checkpoints has not been awarded enough attention.
The most direct and evident corporate involvement in the checkpoints includes five companies which provide security services to the checkpoints: Mikud Security, Ari Avtaha, S.B. Security Systems, Modi’in Ezrachi and Sheleg Lavan. These are private Israeli security firms contracted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to provide workers to replace soldiers in carrying out the jobs of security screening and guarding the checkpoints. Read more about each of these companies on our on-line database: www.whoprofits.org. The website also offers a new article by Eilat Maoz, “The Privatization of the Checkpoints and the Late Occupation”, which discusses the reasons for the privatization, the connection between this and neo-liberal ideology, and offers insights about the current-day Israeli occupation (see:http://www.whoprofits.org/Article%20Data.php?doc_id=705).
Apart from these security firms, many other companies have been involved in the operation of the checkpoints by supplying dedicated equipment, such as specialized scanners and surveillance technologies. These include US companies such as L-3 Communications andRapiscan (a subsidiary of OSI Systems) which provided, through their representative in Israel Hashmira (a subsidiary of the British-Danish firm G4S) personal luggage scanners for some checkpoints. Other companies include US Garrett Metal Detectors, the ItalianCEIA and even Chevrolet, whose baggage scanner vehicles were seen by our activists in several checkpoints, including the infamous Huwwara checkpoint.
The Israeli subsidiary of the American EDS (a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard) is the prime contractor for the Basel Project – an automatic biometric access control system which is installed in major checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank. Subcontractors in this project included Credentia, Oberthur Smart Cards USA, Team Computers, OTI Israel, The DataCard Group, Visionics, RSI and Eshed Engineers.
Similarly, as part of a USAID project, the US for profit aid and development company Chemonics has provided cargo scanning equipment to some of the larger checkpoints, designed for the control of the movement of goods and products in and out of the West Bank and Gaza. The equipment was supplied by the American AS&E, and manufactured by the Chinese company Nuctech.
These companies, and some of these are large multinational firms, are aiding in the construction and maintenance of a system of military checkpoints which was condemned by human rights organizations as a brutal repressive system, which violates basic human rights. As an Israeli peace organization, we also see the checkpoints as a tool of collective punishment, political repression and land annexation. These examples clearly illustrate the corporate interests in the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine.
For more information about these companies and about other corporate involvements in the Israeli military checkpoints, check out The Wall and Checkpoints category on our website www.whoprofits.org.