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14 Sep 2015

Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada

Mexican firm distorts law to justify plunder of Palestinian resources

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A Mexican firm has tried to justify supplying building materials to Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank by pointing to how those colonies have been authorized by Israel. While all Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law, the corporation Cemex has argued that many of them are legal. In a letter sent recently to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the Mexican firm admits that its subsidiary Cemex Israel operates concrete production plants in the West Bank. According to the firm, these plants “are located in legal settlements that have been approved by the Israeli government” and “validated” by Israel’s high court. Cemex claims that it does not deal with “illegal settlements” — which it defines as “settlements not approved by the Israeli government.” The arguments used by the firm mirror those employed by the Israeli authorities in their attempts to explain the theft of Palestinian land. They overlook how all of Israel’s settlements breach international law...I contacted the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, asking it for a response to Cemex’s claims. In an email message, the group accused Cemex of “a gross misrepresentation of the law on settlements.”