The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) is pleased to be able to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day by announcing that the European Union has declined to renew a contract with private security company G4S amidst concerns raised by MEPs and campaign groups about the role the company plays in equipping Israeli prisons in which Palestinian political prisoners are held in violation of international law.
G4S has provided security services to the buildings of the European Parliament since 2008 but the contract award notice (service contract 118611-2012) published on the EU official tenders’ website on April 13th shows that G4S hast lost its contract with the European Parliament.
In March 2011, a group of 28 Members of the European Parliament, including 8 MEPs from Denmark and 6 from the UK wrote a letter to former EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, demanding that the Parliament dropped G4S as the principal security contractor if G4S continued to provide security services to illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and Israeli prisons at which Palestinians are detained. Their demands were a response to investigations conducted by the Danish NGO DanWatch and a report made by the Israeli research project “Who Profits” which revealed and documented G4S’ implication in illegal activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
With the assistance of lawyers, campaigners from ECCP member organisations also raised the issue with various EU officials, in cooperation with Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Merton Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign. G4S held a meeting for MEPs and EU officials in an attempt to deflect the criticisms but failed to provide sufficient guarantees that it would abandon all of its illegal activities.
“The non-renewal of this contract with a company that is deeply complicit with Israeli violations of international law is a vital step towards ensuring that Israel and corporations comply with basic legal standards” said ECCP chairperson Pierre Galand.
“We also salute and thank those MEPs that we are pleased to have worked alongside on this effective campaign.”
OK, let's look up the service contract:
B-Brussels: provision of general safety, fire safety, security accreditation and maintenance of radio systems and controls rounds on the site of the European Parliament in BrusselsIt shows that the contract was awarded to Securitas SA/NV.
But bidding on the contract was announced in July 2011, only a couple of months after the original BDS letter. How likely is it that they decided to dump their old security firm in such a short timeframe?
And in the original bid, we see that the duration of the contract is 60 months. Nothing about any automatic renewal or preferential treatment for existing suppliers.
In other words, the G4S contract was already completed, with a date that could easily be determined - and the BDS crowd looked it up and decided to write a letter a few months prior to the bid that was already going to be placed out anyway!
Not only that, but G4S was probably already under pressure for a different reason: an embarrassing incident in 2009 when a thief stole €50,000 from a bank in the Parliament building complex and got away. If G4S was asked not to bid - and we don't know that is the case- it was probably because of that.
Almost certainly the EU bureaucratic behemoth has strict guidelines on ensuring a fair bidding procedure, and there is zero evidence that political considerations had anything to do with the changing of the security firm for that building. We don't know the details of the three bids that were offered. In all likelihood, Securitas simply won the contract based on its having the lowest bid, something that most governments enforce to minimize corruption in handing out contracts.
The BDSers do not give a shred of proof that anything they did has anything to do with the change of preferred security providers. They don't name any of the MEPs that supposedly helped them. They don't quote any officials, they don't link to any speeches, they don't provide any documents. Nothing.
It is notable that G4S also provides security services to many Arab nations: Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt and Morocco. If G4S was such a horrible Zionist company, then why can't the BDSers even get friendly Arab governments to drop them? Why don't they even try?
The reason is probably because BDS is completely ineffective, and to make it appear like they make a difference they simply take credit every time a company associated however tenuously with Israel loses a contract for any reason.