Cement makers criticized over Palestinian operations

Cemex Israel and HeidelbergCement subsidiary Hanson Israel have been criticized for their support of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, accused Cemex of “a gross misrepresentation of the law on settlements,” says Adri Nieuwhof, a human rights activist.

Cemex says its 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.”

In June, the Norwegian pension fund KLP said it would exclude Cemex and Germany’s HeidelbergCement from its investment portfolio because of those firms’ activities in the West Bank.

HeidelbergCement has confirmed that its subsidiary Hanson Israel runs a quarry known as Nahal Raba in the West Bank.

Writing to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, HeidelbergCement argued that the quarry is on public land.  The firm contended that a thorough check was undertaken before the Australian company Pioneer began to exploit the quarry in 1986. “No private ownership could be determined,” according to HeidelbergCement.

Al-Haq insists that Palestinians have “permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, including quarries.”

Source

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