Boycott Israeli Diamonds – Join campaign 27Mar11 March 28, 2011

Alternative Information Centre – 27 March 2011

kimberley_process

Global Palestine Solidarity has launched a petition urging the Kimberley Process to widen its definition of conflict diamonds to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations. Israeli economist Shir Hever: “Diamond industry funds Israel’s war machine with some US $1 billion yearly.”

The petition currently has nearly 1000 signatures.

The Kimberley Process was designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources free of conflict funded by diamond production.

According to the UN based Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), only “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments” can be classed as conflict or blood diamonds.

The KPCS classifies all other diamonds as “conflict free” regardless of what human rights violations they may be funding. Israel is the world’s leading exporter of diamonds, where approximately 50% of all gem-quality diamonds in dollar terms are processed.

Israeli companies import rough diamonds from around the world, and then process them for cutting and polishing, adding significantly to their value. The diamonds are then exported globally via distribution hubs in Antwerp, London, Hong Kong, New York and Mumbai.

Israel is the world’s leading diamond exporter, with exports valued at nearly $20 billion in 2008, accounting for over 30% of Israel’s exports.

According to Israeli economist Shir Hever: “The diamonds industry helps Israel fund its war machine, which is used on a daily basis against defenceless civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to the tune of approximately $1 billion annually.”

These de facto blood diamonds are sold worldwide as conflict free diamonds to unsuspecting consumers who are unaware that their purchase is funding gross human rights violations in Palestine.

Israel helps fund the atrocities and human rights abuses that Kimberly Process is supposed to prevent being funded by revenue from diamonds.

According to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) National Chairperson Freda Hughes, “The IPSC is highlighting this important ethical issue, and have started a campaign aimed at pushing the Kimberley Process to widen its definition of conflict diamonds to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations  – be they polished or unpolished diamonds, or used by state or non-state actors. Without such a definition, the KP is merely a charade aimed at fooling consumers into thinking that they are making ethical purchases.”

Recent investigations by the UN have concluded that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 and during the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010. All the while, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip, and the Syrians in the Golan Heights, continues.

According to the IPSC, “The Israeli state which oversees these crimes and the military which carries them out are funded by revenue from these same diamond exports. In the view of the IPSC and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) this Israeli diamonds should be unequivocally categorised as blood diamonds.”

The KPCS definition of a conflict or blood diamond must be urgently reviewed in order to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations.

Sign the petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/Boycott-Israeli-Blood-Diamonds/


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