Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

Joint Statement: The Kimberley Process conflict diamond review session must ban diamonds crafted in Israel

In advance of the upcoming review of the international diamond-regulatory system, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a coalition of human rights organisations have called on the KPCS to impose a ban on diamonds crafted in Israel. The groups, which include the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign state that revenues from these diamonds fund Israeli war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Below is the statement in full.

The Kimberley Process conflict diamond review session must ban diamonds crafted in Israel

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, under the stewardship of the US chair, Ms. Gillian Milovanovic, is about to be reviewed. We are therefore using this opportunity to call on the members of the KPSC to ban the export of diamonds crafted in Israel. These diamonds are a major source of funding for the Israeli military regime which stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the UN Human Rights Council. In addition, Israel continues to disregard the safety and well being of civilians under its effective control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

We note with great concern the recent escalation of military attacks by Israeli forces against the defenceless, besieged residents of the Gaza strip. The attacks have left at least 23 Palestinians, including two children, dead. Scores of people have been injured, while thousands more have been terrorised and traumatised. With this horrific backdrop, we believe the time for action is now.  The jewellery industry is facilitating Israeli war crimes by allowing the trade in diamonds from Israel which generate around $1 billion per annum in funding for the Israeli military [1]. The international community must act in a meaningful manner to end Israeli violations of international law; banning the export of Israeli diamonds would be a very important step in that direction. As long as Israeli diamonds are classed as ‘conflict free’, the people of Palestine will continue to suffer under an unjust system of occupation and Apartheid.

We call on jewellers worldwide not to sell diamonds from Israel which should be regarded as blood diamonds and to end the false and grossly misleading practice of claiming that diamonds which fund human rights violations by government forces are ‘conflict free’.

We advise consumers worldwide that diamonds processed in Israel fund apartheid policies, enforcing a system of discrimination against Palestinians worse than that experienced in apartheid-era South Africa .

Finally, we ask human rights groups worldwide to pressure the diamond industry to isolate diamonds processed in Israel and not to allow the legitimate diamond market to be used as an economic shield to fund Israeli apartheid, occupation and war crimes.

List of Endorsers:

Alternative Information Centre
Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine
Australians for Palestine
BDS South Africa
Boycott Israel Network
Boycott from Within – Israeli Citizens for BDS
Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Don’t Play Apartheid Israel
Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Irish Anti War Movement
Irish Ship to Gaza
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
Leeds PSC
London BDS
Netherlands Palestine Committee
Palestine Human Rights Campaign – Aotearoa / New Zealand
Scottish Friends of Palestine
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Women for Palestine

Notes:

[1] Estimate presented to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine by Israeli economist Shir Hever. See http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/1087/video-day-2-afternoon-part-1-of-london-session  (@30mins)

ENDS

The below press release was issued in conjunction with the statement:

Rights groups to KPCS: ‘Ban Israeli diamonds that fund war crimes’

Joint Press Release

Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 12pm

The International diamond-regulatory system, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, set up to end the trade in blood diamonds is under pressure to ban diamonds from Israel because human rights activists state they are funding the Israeli military, which stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the UN Human Rights Council.  A statement issued by a coalition of human rights groups including Jews for Boycotting Israel Goods, the Alternative Information Centre – a Bethlehem-based Israeli/Palestinian group – and a number of Palestine solidarity groups from Ireland and Britain calls on the new KPSC chair, US Ambassador, Gillian Milovanovic and members of the KPSC to ban the export of diamonds crafted in Israel.

The groups expressed “great concern about the recent escalation of military attacks by Israeli forces against the defenceless, besieged residents of the Gaza strip which have killed at least 23 Palestinians, including two children. Scores of people have been injured, while thousands more have been terrorised and traumatised. With this horrific backdrop, we believe the time for action is now.  The jewellery industry is facilitating Israeli war crimes byallowing the trade in diamonds from Israel which generate around $1 billion per annum in funding for the Israeli military [1]. The international community must act in a meaningful manner to end Israeli violations of international law; banning the export of Israeli diamonds would be a very important step in that direction.”

The statement calls on jewellers “not to sell diamonds from Israel which should be regarded as blood diamonds and to end the false and grossly misleading practice of claiming that diamonds which fund gross human rights violations by government forces are ‘conflict free’.” The statement ended by calling for support for this initiative from other organisations: “We ask human rights groups worldwide to pressure the diamond industry to isolate diamonds processed in Israel and not to allow the legitimate diamond market to be used as an economic shield to fund Israeli apartheid, occupation and war crimes”.

To read the full statement, see here – http://tinyurl.com/6o4n9rl

Endorsers of the statement:

Alternative Information Centre
Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine
Australians for Palestine
BDS South Africa
Boycott Israel Network
Boycott from Within – Israeli Citizens for BDS
Bradford Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Don’t Play Apartheid Israel
Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Irish Anti War Movement
Irish Ship to Gaza
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
London BDS
Netherlands Palestine Committee
Scottish Friends of Palestine
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Women for Palestine

ENDS

Contact:

Mr. Sean Clinton
Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds, campaign coordinator
E-mail: diamonds@ipsc.ie

Other background material:

1. IPSC call for human rights activists to email KP chair and Ad Hoc Committee, http://t.co/cWTV5VRR
2. Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition statement calling for cut and polished diamonds to be included in KPCS oversight, http://tinyurl.com/7v2xajd
3. 2010 article by Sean Clinton, http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-blood-diamonds/8754
4. 2011 article by Sean Clinton, http://electronicintifada.net/content/diamond-industrys-double-standard-israel/10102