Friends of Palestine Society call for campus wide boycott of unethical water company

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]t.hastings1@lancaster.ac.uk[/email].

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2 Comments

  1. I’d like to say that I for one, hope that the university does not boycott water sales from Israel in favour of the friends of Palestine society.

    Am I the only sane person that realises the number of terrorist actions committed by the militant groups of Palestine and Hamas every year. For reference I point you in the direction of March 14th 2006 when a British council building in the Gaza strip was burnt down in response to the capture of a dangerous militant leader.

    The fact that Hamas has won the recent election and has taken over governing the Palestinian Authority has provided the best reason. Why should the democratic West provide financial support for a government, its people, and militant groups who have perpetuated and engaged in suicide bombings of civilians in Israel and who have publicly sworn that their first raison d’etre is to kill Jews, destroy Israel as a nation and reclaim that land for the Palestinian people?

    Is there any sense of justice in their complaint over the existence of Israel? Yes, of course there is. It is an issue worthy of discussion and debate. It is worthy of pursuing a solution and a resolution, a compromise and a settlement.

    But for the Palestinian people, the issue is “all or nothing.” Either Israel goes away for good or . . . or . . . the Palestinian people will suffer increasing hardships and social/cultural degeneration for themselves and their posterity.

    It is the Palestinian people who have decided on this “all or nothing” scenario. They appear to be willing to lose everything rather than to accept the existence of Israel as a neighbor nation.

    With Hamas now in control it seems to be politically reasonable to let them reap what they have sown. They have freely chosen a destiny filled with despair, grief, bitterness, and hopelessness.

    It is their choice. Perhaps we should let them live with the consequences of that choice.

  2. I’ve nothing against people wishing to boycott what they see as an unethical company, but to suggest 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” is ridiculous.

    The problems in the middle east, and especially the Palestine topic, are much more deep set and completely unrelated. However, if one thinks that their bottle of water will make a difference compared to the billions of dollars being spent on weaponry, go for it.

    Please, less of this one-sided publicity seeking.

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