Carmel-Agrexco in Hayes is the main UK depot of Israel’s 50% state owned export company. Agrexco is responsible for exporting the majority of fruit and veg from illegal settlements in the West Bank to the UK. The UK is a large part of the market for settlement produce making up 60% of Agrexco’s total exports.
Agrexco profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and entrenched system of racial apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. In the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank, Agrexco farm on stolen Palestinian land while Palestinian’s work for them for less than a living wage. Carmel-Agrexco can deliver fruit and veg to Europe in 24 hours while Palestinian farmers produce rots in the fields because the farmers can’t bring it through illegal Israeli military checkpoints.
Recently workers for Agrexco’s franchises took a wage cut and had to sign away their right to a pension.
This is the third time Agrexco has been blockaded since 2004. In November 2004 the ‘Uxbridge 7’ shut down the factory for 12 hours and were charged with preventing lawful business. In the court proceedings the protesters legal team argued that Agrexco’s business was not lawful as the company was ‘ancillary to apartheid’ by profiting from, and sustaining, illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. The defence obtained disclosure from Agrexco on which settlements the company dealt with. The blockaders case was later discharged as Agrexco did not own the land they claimed the protesters had trespassed on.
In September activists blockaded the depot again, this time the company made a decision not to prosecute because they were afraid of the negative publicity another court case could generate.
Today the company again refused to prosecute blockaders and the six people locked-on were able to walk away. They did issue a warning that we were committing aggravated trespass to two protesters with the possibility of a summons.
The question is how long can this company hold out before they are forced to prosecute protesters who disrupt their grubby business
Press Release from third Blockade
Photos of the second blockade (September 2006)
Text of letter sent to Carmel Agrexco
Report on Carmel’s Involvement in the Jordan Valley:
Press release from previous trial (with links):
War on Want’s Report –“Profiting from the Occupation”: