MUL-T-LOCK COMPANY TO MOVE AWAY FROM WEST BANK SETTLEMENT
Gush Shalom Press Release, Oct. 25, 2008
Removal from Barkan settlement announced in Stockholm by Swedish owners Human Rights groups and Church of Sweden had warned company directors: Settlement factory could lead to prosecution on International Law violations Barkan Wineries already left the Barkan settlement, others considering move Gush Shalom: business people starting to understand that settlement activity Is incompatible with building world-wide business activity and partnerships
The board of the giant Swedish ASSA ABLOY concern has announced in Stockholm its decision to immediately remove the Mul-T-Lock Company, under its ownership, from the industrial zone of the Barkan settlement on the West Bank and move it to inside the Green Line (pre-1967 Israeli border). Ann Holmberg, the company’s communications manager, expressed the board’s apology for having maintained a plant in Occupied Territory for eight years, since having bought the Israeli company in 2000, and promised that the error would be rectified.
ASSA ABLOY has taken this step after the Human Rights groups Diakonia and SwedWatch, as well as the Church of Sweden, have conducted research and published a strongly-worded report, warning the company directors that both ASSA ABLOY as a company and its directors personally might be criminally liable for a violation of international law. Moreover, the confiscation of the land on which the Barkan Industrial Zone had been erected from its Palestinian owners was illegal under International Law. Therefore, acquiring the leasehold for the Mul-T-Lock plant – some 22 dunums (5.5 acres) in area – could be considered as pillage under International Law, for which also the company directors might have been held liable.
The Barkan Wineries have already left the Barkan Industrial Zone for similar reasons and moved their activities to Kibbutz Hulda inside the Green Line. It is known, moreover, that that several other factories consider a similar move – such as the “Bagel & Bagel” bakery plant, which considers moving to Arad in the Negev.
“We heartily welcome the forthcoming exit of Mul-T-Lock from the Occupied Territories, and look forward for the moment when we could remove this company from our Settlement Boycott List” says Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc.
“Mul-T-Lock has a near-monopoly status in the area of locks in Israel. In effect, its present location forced many Israeli citizens, who simply wanted to lock their doors, to willy-nilly take part in financing the West Bank settlement project.
We hope for the complete collapse of the Barkan Industrial Zone, which is an economic mainstay of the settlement project. The existence of this zone constitutes a grave damage to the state of Israel and a threat to its future, since it strengthens the violent and fanatic forces seeking to prevent peace with the Palestinians and trying to doom all of us to eternal war.
In the past, industrialists were tempted by the generous subsidies which the government offered to anyone willing to locate their plants to the settlements. Now, however, Israeli business people discover that maintaining a factory on stolen Palestinian land in an Occupied Territory in incompatible with developing the exports of their products and building up international business partnerships. Business people – even though purely out of business considerations – are voting with their money against the settlements, and in this way they are best serving Israel’s future”.
Gush Shalom: Adam Keller, Spokesperson +972-(0)3-5565804 or +972-(0)506-709603
Diakonia Human Rights group (in Jerusalem): David Kärnerud +972-(0)2-5322972, ext. 103 or +972-(0)545-432618, Odate Hanna +972-(0)2-5322972, ext. 116 or +972-(0)545-432088, ASSA ABLOY (in Sweden): Ann Holmberg, Corporate Communications Manager +46 8 506 485 54. The human rights groups’ report on the Mul-T-Lock plant: http://www.diakonia.se/documents/public/IN_FOCUS/Israel_Palestine/Report_Illegal_Ground/Report_Mul-T-lock_081021.pdf