On the 16th of March H&M will open its second store in Israel, this time in Malcha Mall in Jerusalem. This establishment is outrageous, given the Israeli claims for Jerusalem as the “united capital of Israel” and the violent policies of ethnic cleansing of the city that the Israeli state is currently involved in. It ties H&M to a clear political position – support for the Israeli defiance of international law.
Jerusalem is being gradually cleansed of its Palestinian population. In the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian families are evicted to be replaced by Jewish settlers. Palestinian owned houses are demolished while thousands are built for Jewish citizens. A “Museum of Tolerance” is scheduled to be built on an ancient Muslim cemetery and a planned public park requires the demolishing of almost one hundred Palestinian homes in Silwan. In spite of US, EU and UN demands to freeze settlement construction, Israel has recently announced the construction of another 112 houses in the West Bank and 1600 in occupied East Jerusalem. But it doesn”t stop there: Israeli officials have confirmed that some 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line are in various stages of planning and approval.
Moreover, numerous violent clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli military and police have marked the past few weeks in East Jerusalem. On Friday the 5th of March, for example, Israeli forces stormed the Al Aqsa compound firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd, injuring dozens of visitors to the mosque. Since Friday the 12th of March, the checkpoints regulating travel between Jerusalem and the West Bank have been kept completely closed, inciting protests throughout Palestine and beyond.
We are aware of H&M:s corporate responsibility statement, and note that H&M claims to act by the Global Compact, which, amongst other things, obliges them to “make sure their own corporations are not complicit in human rights abuses”. We encourage H&M to respect their own code of conduct and their recent statement of being a company that does not take a political stand. By developing business interests in Israel, H&M is making itself complicit in the illegal and immoral practices of the Israeli state, and specifically those taking place today in the city of Jerusalem.
Together with people of conscience in Palestine, Israel, and all over the world, we are now 47 organizations from 13 countries, we call upon H&M to take a moral stand on the question of Israel”s human rights abuses and illegal practices against the Palestinian people, and refuse to do business in Israel. We demand that H&M takes urgent steps to withdraw from all activity in Israel until such time as the country respects international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.
Tell H&M that Jerusalem is not for sale!
Join the second wave of protests against H&M!
Campaign material and suggested actions are available in the documents section of the capaign blog.