Both gates to the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, have been blocked. Four protesters have locked themselves inside a cage blocking one gate, while another is D-locked to the other gate.
The action in the early hours of Sunday morning was timed to coincide with a Week of Action called by the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign (www.bigcampaign.org). Protests against the sale of produce from apartheid Israel have taken place outside supermarkets around the country, which account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco's total exports.
the blockade this morning
Carmel-Agrexco, Agrexco's biggest fresh agricultural produce brand, had disclosed that the company exports fresh produce from several illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Palestine. The Mehola settlement in the central Jordan Valley is one of them.
Protesters argue that Agrexco's harvesting and sale of goods from illegal settlements built in the Palestinian Occupied Territories have only been enabled by eviction, murder and theft of resources, which are considered "war crimes" under the International Criminal Courts Act 2001. As such, Agrexco's business of importing fresh produce into the UK is "unlawful business".
Activists participating in today's action do not expect to be arrested as Carmel-Agrexco do not usually cooperate with police over prosecutions. This is because the company are unwilling to have the lawfulness of their business exposed to scrutiny in court. In 2004, a court case against seven activists arrested for protesting against Carmel-Agrexco collapsed after evidence of Carmel-Agrexco's dealings with illegal settlements was disclosed.
Many of the activists participating in today's action have spent time living and working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and witnessed first-hand the extra-judicial killings, collective punishment and wilful damage of land, property and infrastructure by Israel against Palestinians.
One of the blockaders, Sam Harwood, said:
"Agrexco is responsible for human rights crimes against the Palestinian people. The British supermarkets which buy produce from Agrexco are also complicit. Agrexco must by held liable for its unlawful business."
- Text of letter sent to Carmel Agrexco:
- Report on Imports of Israeli Goods Into Europe:
- Report on Carmel’s involvement in the Jordan Valley:
- War on Want’s report, 'Profiting from the Occupation':