Danish Company Halts Equipment Supply to West Bank in Wake of Public Protest

Israeli security firm owned by Danish G4S, said it will stop providing security gear over Green Line; move comes in wake of public pressure following report from group monitoring companies operating in territories.

The Israeli security firm Hashmira, which is owned by the Danish concern G4S, announced last weekend it will stop providing equipment to security installations over the Green Line.

The move comes in the wake of public pressure in Denmark following a report from the Coalition of Women for Peace, which runs the "Who Profits?" project monitoring Israeli companies operating in the territories.

Emil Salman

The report, released in November, says that Hashmira provides baggage scanning equipment and body scanners for the Qalandiya, Bethlehem, Sha'ar Efraim and Eyal checkpoints.

It also provided the Ofer base near Ramallah a peripheral security system installed on the security prison walls, and the central control room for the entire compound, which includes a jail for Palestinian prisoners, a lockup and a military court.

Hashmira also installed a security system for the Judea & Samaria district police headquarters in the E1 area near Ma'aleh Adumim.

The report aroused public criticism in Denmark among several elected officials, including the Danish minister of foreign affairs.

In addition, the city of Copenhagen decided to consider its continued investment in the company.

Public uncharmed by purchase of Hashmira

In 2002, G4S faced public pressure over its acquisition of the Israeli company Hashmira, which then provided security services to settlements, including armed guards.

Following that criticism the company, then known as Group 4 Falck, decided to stop guarding settlements in the territories.

Since then the company employs just a few guards in settlements, mainly at the entrances to supermarkets and banks. G4S noted its 2002 decision in its current announcement, adding that since then it hasn't signed any security contracts of this type in the settlements.

Hashmira is the second largest security company in Israel, operating since 1937, and employs thousands of people. The company has thousands of government, factory, office building and shopping center clients.

G4S employs about 600,000 people worldwide, specializing in providing security services involving guards, electronic equipment, transporting cash and operating private prisons.

In its announcement G4S said it intends to terminate contracts with security facilities in the territories as soon as possible. The company stated, however, that it recognizes its contractual obligations toward its customers and will take these into account.

"The company's global management is currently considering a small part of security services in the Judean and Samarian areas as many international companies do from time to time, and taking into account its contractual obligations," G4S responded.

Two months ago Hashmira, along with Shikun & Binui (formerly Housing and Construction Holding Co. ), won a NIS 1.5 billion tender for a police academy in Beit Shemesh. The training center will be built over the next three years, and will be operated over a 22 year period in exchange for regular payments to Hashmira from the government.