British pro-Palestine campaigners call on HP to stop 'aiding Israeli war crimes'

Marwan Sultan in London , Friday 6 Mar 2015

Hewlett Packard supplies technology to the Israeli military, including bio-metric scanners used at checkpoints

HP logo is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem in this January 2010 file photo. (Photo:Reuters)

British pro-Palestine campaigners have accused multinational Hewlett Packard of aiding “Israeli war crimes” in the Palestinian territories, by supplying technology to the Israeli military.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is calling on the corporation to end its "complicity" with Israel’s lethal occupation of Palestinian land.

The call comes days before the company's general assembly meeting, which will be held on 18 March.

The corporation provides information technology infrastructure to the Israeli navy and facial recognition scanners for Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.

The PSC has drafted an open letter to Meg Whitman, HP's US-based CEO, and is calling for signatures. The letter will be sent to Whitman on 15 March.

The corporation has said that its cooperation with the Israeli military doesn’t violate the international law.

However, a PSC spokeswoman told Ahram Online that “Hewlett Packard supplies the technology behind Israel’s war crimes and apartheid against the Palestinians.”

She said a copy of the letter will be also sent to Andy Isherwood, managing director of HP in the UK and Ireland.

The spokeswoman called on supporters of Palestine and human rights in the occupied territories to sign the letter, which says that “by providing IT to Israel’s navy and army, Hewlett Packard is aiding Israel’s lethal occupation of Palestinian land.”

”HP’s contracts also render the company complicit in the military and naval enforcement of Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza, a blockade which denies the Palestinians everything from sufficient food to essential medicines,” it adds.

HP admits it provides Israel with the Basel system, which uses scanners with hand and facial recognition technology to collect biometric data about every Palestinian who crosses through Israeli checkpoints.

As a result, the biometric data of nearly every Palestinian over the age of 16 is held by the Israeli authorities, which PSC argues “(feeds) into Israel’s system of control and repression.”

The corporation has said it has been strongly committed to socially responsible business practices throughout its 75-year history.

A spokesman told Ahram Online in December that its work and products in Israel “are consistent with our values and standards (and) it is not our policy to take sides in political disputes between countries or regions.”

The PSC’s letter, entitled “Don’t aid Israel’s war crimes”, said that “Hewlett Packard has a comprehensive human rights policy which includes avoiding complicity in human rights violations and regularly assessing human rights risks in the countries in which it operates.”

“It is therefore of even greater concern that HP is involved in maintaining the Israeli occupation, deemed illegal under international law,” it adds.

HP insists that it “focus on making the best products we can to help improve the lives of people around the world.”

The PSC's letter pledges “to stop buying Hewlett Packard products, including ink, printers and computers.”

In December last year, PSC launched a Boycott HP campaign which released images via social media of life under Israeli occupation accompanied by slogans including: “HP: the technology behind Israel’s war machine.”


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