Heidelberg Cement attempts to divest from Israeli holdings

Heidelberg Cement attempts to divest from Israeli holdings
Published: 14 July 2009

Hanson Israel owns and operates a quarry on Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the company mines materials for the cement and asphalt it produces for sale in Israel and in Israeli West Bank settlements.

According to a new report by analyst Adri Nieuwhof, of the Electronic Intifada, "Hanson Israel’s concrete and asphalt plants in the Occupied Palestinian Territories  --  just like the Israeli settlements -- are contrary to international law.  Israel’s mining of Palestinian natural resources, mainly for the Israeli market, also violates international law. Through Hanson Israel’s operations in the occupied West Bank, HeidelbergCement is involved in Israel’s violations of international law and the company acts against the rights and interest of the indigenous Palestinian people."

The company’s operations in the West Bank put Hanson Israel, and by extension its parent company Heidelberg Cement, in violation of a 2003 ruling by the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights defined norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights. The norms are framed within the general obligation that "States have the primary responsibility to promote, secure the fulfillment of, respect, ensure respect of and protect human rights recognized in international as well as national law, including ensuring that transnational corporations and other business enterprises respect human rights."