BNC Open Letter to UNICEF: End your partnership with Motorola

Palestine, July 01 2009 – In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called on the international community to impose broad boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiatives against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the coordinating body for the Palestinian BDS campaign and represents signatories to the call for BDS, which includes the three main segments of the Palestinian people: in the occupied Palestinian territory; inside Israel; and in exile (mainly the refugee community).

Motorola is one of the corporations that we are currently urging individuals and organizations to boycott because of its entrenched and sustained connections to the Israeli military and to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We write to you today because of our respect for the important work that UNICEF has done for children worldwide and out of concern for your organization’s relationship with Motorola. Motorola has been a corporate partner of UNICEF since 2005, donating annually since 2006, $100,000-$249,999 as a member of UNICEF?s elite ?Leader?s Circle.? We are aware that Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East and their partners have provided you with detailed information concerning Israel?s use of Motorola technology for both military purposes and to support illegal settlements in the West Bank. Given Motorola?s conscious complicity in Israel’s continued human rights violations in Palestine, which include violations against the rights of children, we are asking UNICEF to sever its ties with Motorola. A corporation that is profiting from human rights violations and war crimes against Palestinian children ought not be allowed to whitewash its complicity by associating its name with UNICEF?s through donations.

The role of Motorola in providing both weapons and infrastructure to the Israeli military is well-documented. Motorola provides the Israeli military with a data-encrypted communications network. This network is vital to Israeli military operations, including the military assault on Gaza earlier this year, which killed at least 1300 Palestinians, including 349 children. Beyond providing communication services for the military, Motorola Israel has also been the leading Israeli designer and manufacturer of fuses for bombs and guided munitions used by the Israeli military. Motorola Israel?s fuses have been used in cluster bombs, ?bunker-buster? bombs, and a variety of other bombs. These weapons have been used in Israeli military attacks on civilians in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. In April, 2009, Motorola stated that it would be selling by May or June the department that made bomb fuses for Israel, but there has been no confirmation to date that the sale has occurred.

In addition to Motorola?s military connections, it is also profiting from illegal settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory. Motorola provides Israeli forces with high-tech radar systems to ?protect? these colonies from the Palestinian communities that they surround and whose lands they are illegally built on. By 2006, Motorola radar systems were in use near at least 47 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Due to settlements and the continued construction of the illegal Wall, many Palestinians are no longer able to farm on their land or face great obstacles to their freedom of movement into or out of their villages. As a result, many families have lost their primary sources of both food and income. This has left many Palestinian children living in poverty, as UNICEF and other UN organizations? reports have shown. These children also face attacks by settlers who frequently assault and harass them on their way to and from school. Motorola is in the business of protecting settlers and illegal settlements as they violate the rights of Palestinians.

UNICEF is an organization committed to defending the rights of children worldwide. UNICEF should therefore end its partnership with Motorola because Motorola directly supports and profits from Israeli military and settlement activities that violate international law and children?s rights. Ending this partnership will be a powerful statement about UNICEF’s commitment to the children of Palestine and about its moral consistency. It will also send a strong message to Motorola and other corporations that profiting from Israeli human rights violations can have serious consequences.


The Secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions National Committee (BNC)*

* The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) is a wide coalition of the largest Palestinian mass organizations, trade unions, networks and organizations.

Member organizations:
Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
Federation of Independent Trade Union
Palestine Right of Return Coalition
Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Initiative
General Union of Palestinian Women
Union of Palestinian Farmers
Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW)
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba
Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ)
Coalition for Jerusalem
Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations
Palestinian Economic Monitor
Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps

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