Agrexco blockaded at Belgian airport
On February 11, 2011, a group of Belgian peace activists blocked the entrance of the Israeli company Agrexco’s distribution centre at Liège Airport. The activists protested against the import of agricultural goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The settlements are in violation of international humanitarian law. Agrexco facilitates the economical growth of the settlements by exporting their agricultural produce to the worlds markets. The activists were aiming to prevent Agrexco from distributing its products on the European markets via Liège airport.
The blockade of Agrexco
The activists chained themselves to the entrance of the distribution centre LACHS at Liège Airport, in order to block the trucks coming to collect Agrexco products.
They demand guarantees that products traded by Agrexco, do not originate from the illegal settlements. As long as the company refuses to give this guarantee, the government should put a halt to the unethical trade of agricultural goods from Israel.
Foto’s of the action:
The campaign ‘War Start Here!’
The Belgian peace movements Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix urge the government to take action against companies who contribute to war crimes. They call on citizens to file a complaint against Agrexco and their partners and provide everyone with the tools to do this via their website (www.vredesactie.be). On May 14, 2011, they are organising a National Complaint Day, during which, in more then 10 Belgian cities, groups of people will simultaneously file a complaint against Agrexco. This complaint action is part of the campaign ‘War Starts Here!’, which aims to reveal the economical links with wars, and show how armed conflicts can be prevented or solved by non-military means.
No Valentine for Palestine
Agrexco is Israel’s main exporter of vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers and wine to Europe. The Company is partly owned by the Israeli government. The goods are flown in by the Israeli company Cargo Air Lines (CAL) and distributed by Liège Air Cargo Handling Services (LACHS), a daughter company of Agrexco and CAL. LACHS is responsible for the distribution from Belgium to other European countries, and has its headquarter at Liège Airport.
A number of the products distributed by Agrexco are grown in the illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. This trade is highly controversial because of the role settlements play in Israel’s occupation policy.
One of the activists asks: “The flowers we buy here are grown on stolen land, and watered from resources which belong to the original inhabitants of the occupied territories. Do we really want to support these practices by allowing Agrexco to sell these products to us?”
The settlements in the occupied territories cause poverty and discrimination for the 2,4 million Palestinians who live in the Westbank. The settlers are gradually removing their natural resources, such as land and water, by force. The settlements and their infrastructure have taken over more than half of the Westbank this way, and make the daily survival in the Westbank hardly possible.
The occupation policy of Israel is in violation of international law. Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention forbids the transfer of civilians of the occupying country to its occupied territories.
All governments are obliged to prevent any support of the Israeli settlement policy. A spokesperson of Vredesactie states: “The trade of goods from the settlements has to be stopped. We don’t need to create new laws in order to achieve this, we simply need to respect and apply international law. Trade with the settlements is illegal. Companies who facilitate this trade should be punished.”
File a complaint against Agrexco
Vredesactie and Action pour le Paix call on citizens to file complaint against Agrexco and its partners CAL and LACHS. The reasons for this complaint are the selling of stolen goods and complicity to war crimes. Participants can download the complaint via www.vredesactie.be (dutch) and www.actionpourlapaix.be (french). An online manual explains how the complaint can be filed (materials in dutch and French). Anyone can individually file a complaint in any Belgian police office. On Saturday may 14th, 2011, people from all over Belgium will simultaneously file a complaint.