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High street firms accused of profiting from crisis in Holy Land

 High street names such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Connex and Caterpillar are profiting from the ongoing crisis in the Holy Land, according to a new report from campaigning group War on Want which was launched yesterday. The report: Profiting from the Occupation, details the extent of the humanitarian crisis currently facing Palestinians as a result of Israel's intensified operations against them, (based on research collected prior to the recent incursions into Gaza) and examines the role which companies have played in supporting the Occupation. The report finds that: Train operator Connex is constructing a light rail system which will link illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to the Israeli side of the city, slicing across occupied Palestinian territory and threatening any final agreement on the status of the city; Supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose stock wines, snacks and other goods which are produced in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and Golan Heights but sold as 'Made in Israel'. Construction companies such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Daewoo supply bulldozers which are used by the Israeli army in the construction of the Separation Wall, as well as in the demolition of Palestinian homes. Israel's actions have been identified as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as being in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Yet the UK has done nothing to bring Israel to account for its actions, or to stop British companies from supporting the Occupation. Louise Richards, Chief Executive of War on Want, said: "Aiding and abetting a crime is itself a crime when it comes to individuals, but corporations are free to make money out of extreme violations of international law. Familiar high street companies are actively supporting Israel's military occupation of Palestine, despite the terrible suffering this is causing. Companies must no longer be allowed to profit from the misery of the Palestinian people." War on Want held a public conference to launch the report yesterday, which was addressed by Palestinian presidential candidate and MP Mustafa Barghouti, Nobel peace prize nominee Jeff Halper and Elizabeth Corrie, cousin of murdered US peace activist Rachel Corrie. The full report can be downloaded from: www.waronwant.org/resources