Irish cement multinational company, CRH owns 25% share in Israel’s largest cement company, Nesher Cement. Israel’s Annexation/Segregation/Apartheid Wall (all labels are correct) snakes through the West Bank cutting off people from each other, from their farmland and from 65% of their water wells and springs.
Nearly 100,000 Palestinians are trapped between the wall and the 1967 green line, thereby placing them in no-mans land. The goal is clear: Israel wants those people to clear out of the area, thereby de-Palestinianising a further 10% of the West Bank.
Palestinians frequently organize peaceful protests against the building of the Wall, which is in its 8th year of construction and nearly complete. Usually they are met with tear gas and arbitrary arrests. Sometimes much worse happens as in the case of 16-year old Mohammad Qadus who was shot on 20 March, 2010 as he was carrying to safety his critically injured friend, Asaud Qadus, who himself had just been shot in the head. According to Stopthewall.org, of the 16 people murdered by the Israeli military in connection with anti-Wall protests since 2002, half were under the age of 18.
Just last week, 63 year old Galway resident Tommy Donnellan was violently arrested by the Israeli military while he was filming a protest in the West Bank. The Irish Times and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign reported that the protest against the role of CRH in building Israel’s wall in the village of Bil’in had been peaceful. Despite this, Mr. Donnellan was attacked by soldiers, “his throat and shirt were grabbed, his gas mask was torn off, and after being wrestled to the ground he was arrested. During the arrest he sustained a 3 inch gash to his right leg and was bleeding heavily from his left ear, from which a piece was torn off. About two hours later he was released without charge.” Mr. Donnellan stated: ‘Thank the Lord I’m ok now. I’ve lost a chunk of my ear – but not my dignity. I was plainly in the role of journalist, videoing the proceedings; I should not have been arrested, especially in such a violent manner.’”
Mr. Donnellan condemmed the impunity and inhumanity of the Israeli occupation forces and noted how the incident ‘shines an unflattering light on the shameful activities of Irish cement company CRH, who are directly involved in the building of this monstrous wall and thus complicit in what happened to me today, and in the regular human rights abuses – including murder of anti-Wall activists – by the Israeli military in Bil’in and elsewhere.’
Despite calls from civil society to divest, CRH continues to unashamedly profit from the building of this apartheid structure as well as from the building of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. This year the CRH Annual General Meeting starts at 11am Wednesday May 5th, in the Royal Marine Hotel, Marine Road in Dun Laoghaire. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is organising a protest outside. Protestors will be assembling at 10.15am at the Catholic Church plaza.