Monday, 8 February 2021, Israel again confiscated most of the residential structures and livestock enclosures in the community of Khirbet Humsah al-Foqa, located in Area C in the north of the Jordan Valley. Israel’s Civil Administration personnel dismantled and confiscated nine tents that were home to 61 people, including 33 minors, as well as 12 other structures which included shade sails, storage shacks and a water container. They also demolished five livestock enclosures. Israeli authorities along with the JCB bulldozer then proceeded to the nearby village of Yarza to destroy more homes. The use of JCB’s equipment has led to Palestinians accusing JCB of complicity in the demolitions.
In 2019, the Shoal Collective and Corporate Occupation investigated corporate complicity in house demolitions. They produced evidence that JCB bulldozers are used to carry out demolitions of farming and Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills. The report showed that JCB equipment:
- Affected at least 29,483 people
- Displaced at least 123 people
- Displaced at least 39 children
- Destroyed at least 6,784 olive & fruit trees
- Destroyed at least 20 water systems.
In detailed correspondence with NSPCC Trustees and Officers, compelling reasons for dropping JCB as a donor were given but went unheeded. NSPCC therefore knows the role JCB equipment plays in the destruction of Palestinian homes.
Every Child Worth Fighting For?
The NSPCC’s web site proclaims that ‘Every Child is Worth Fighting For’ and that it is ‘dedicated to protecting children today…’. These are noble aspirations but, given NSPCC’s acceptance of JCB’s financial largesse, some fundamental questions arise.
At what point does one become complicit in reprehensible acts? Does NSPCC understand that ethical precepts are not pick ‘n mix? How is it that the NSPCC finds itself saying, by implication at the very least, that Palestinian children matter not at all? ‘Every child worth fighting for’ – a slogan hollowed out?
Can the NSPCC not see that accepting donations from sources that enable the displacement and destruction of Palestinian homes and communities taints it, and undermines whatever ethical claims it otherwise makes?
Dr Martin Kemp of the UK Palestine Mental Health Network, in an article well worth reading in full, published by ICAHD UK draws an interesting historical analogy with attitudes to Edward Colston (1636-1721), the Bristol slave trader whose statue was torn down during the Black Lives Matter protests last year. He ‘was a model citizen: a respected merchant whose sense of civic duty led him to finance many charitable works’. Perhaps, speculates Dr Kemp, ‘had it then existed, Colston would also have donated to the NSPCC’ cloaking himself thereby in moral rectitude, sanitising the source of his wealth. The parallel with the NSPCC’s relationship with JCB is stark.
Actions you can take
The NSPCC is holding a virtual two day conference on the 4 & 5 March 2021 entitled (with no sense of irony) ‘Safeguarding Children Together’.
A coalition of organisations campaigning to stop NSPCC accepting donations from JCB has designated the 4 March A Day of Action entitled How Safe Are Palestinian Children?
Tweet your call to NSPCC to refuse donations from JCB. Tweet between 8.30am to 3.30pm and include the conference hashtag. Suggested Tweets:
- Ensure EVERY child has the right to grow up safely @NSPCC @JCBmachines #HowSafe2021 #HowSafeArePalestinianChildren
- Calling on the @NSPCC to cut your ties with @JCBmachines – your role is to protect children, not to take money tainted with actions that make them homeless and traumatised #HowSafe2021 #HowSafeArePalestinianChildren
- How can @NSPCC claim to believe in the safety of every child while taking money from @JCBmachines, who profit from the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes and leave thousands of Palestinian children cruelly destitute and harmed #HowSafe2021 #HowSafeArePalestinianChildren
#HowSafe2021 AND our hashtag #HowSafeArePalestinianChildren.
You could also tag @NSPCCOther potential actions at https://icahd.org/2021/02/12/how-safe-are-palestinian-children-nspcc-day-of-action-4-march-2021/