Lancaster University’s Friends of Palestine Society has proposed a campus-wide boycott of Eden Springs mineral water over the company’s trading activities in the Golan Heights, an Israeli-owned territory, legally belonging to Syria.
The Israeli-owned water company is responsible for supplying water for drinking fountains all across campus, but it has recently come under fire from the LUFPS for its violation of international laws.
The controversy surrounding the company stems from their activities in the Golan Heights, an area of Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, which was illegally annexed in 1981. Since the take over, 90% of the Syrian population of the Heights have been expelled by Israeli forces.
Eden Springs have been sourcing their water from the Salukia Spring within the Israeli-occupied territory, and have in turn apparently been depriving the Syrian population of a much needed water supply.
The LUFPS believe that by boycotting the company’s provision of water to Lancaster University, peace could potentially be brought not only to the Golan Heights, but also to Syria and Israel – two countries which are officially at war.
The LUFPS’ argument is that Eden Springs, a member of the Danone Group, is violating articles 28 and 47 of the Hague Regulations, which declares that “pillage is formally forbidden”. The LUFPS hope this illegal activity could be brought to a close by limiting the power of the water company within the UK.
Lately the company was forced to close its East of Scotland depot after losing “hundreds of contracts” following a boycott at Edinburgh University. Now Lancaster students want the same to happen here.
Tom Hastings, of the Friends of Palestine Society, has recently addressed a letter to the University asking it to terminate its contract with Eden Springs. Mr. Hastings said: “Eden Springs is not just a silent partner in violations of international law, it is itself the active violator”.
Using Article 55 of the Hague Regulations as proof, which ‘limits the right of occupying states to utilize the water sources of occupied territory’, Mr. Hastings added: “The criminal behaviour of a company violates Lancaster University’s commitment to ethical business policies.”
This is not the first time Lancaster’s ethical policies have been brought into question. Controversy over the university’s investment in companies which trade arms has been at the forefront of debates recently, and after a fellow successful boycott by many Scottish Universities, the LUFPS are hoping they too can make a difference in Syria.
Mr Hastings asks if anyone wishes to support the boycott and sign the petition for the removal of Eden Springs’ water from across campus to email him at [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].