Private Security companies and the Israeli OccupationJan 2016
Private security companies in Israel play an active role in the occupation of Palestinian land and control over Palestinian people. Private security guards operate checkpoints and guard settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These security guards have policing powers, they bear arms and are entitled to use force in performing their duties. In the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the private security guards, who are hired by the state of Israel to guard the settlements, de facto serve as a private police force that serves the settlers population. The employment of private security guards enables state authorities to provide security services only to the settlers, without acknowledging or meeting the security needs of the Palestinian communities around the settlements. This situation creates an inherent inequality between the Palestinian and the Jewish population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory is implemented through various security and police forces. In recent decades, many military responsibilities were handed over to private civilian companies, turning the private security industry into one of the fastest growing industries in Israel. Private security companies guard settlements and construction sites in the oPt, and some are also in charge of the day-to-day operation, security and maintenance of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.
This report aims to expose and describe the involvement of private security companies in West Bank and East Jerusalem checkpoints and settlements. The report analyzes the privatization of the checkpoints, mainly along the Separation Wall, the operation of checkpoints and the outsourcing process in West Bank settlements. It highlights the role of private security guards in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population.
Our methodology included desk research based on public sources, governmental databases, protocols of Knesset committees and Freedom of Information requests. In addition, we conducted field research in different sites in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in order to gather evidence on the involvement of private security companies in the apparatus of occupation. All sources for the information about companies in this report are on file with Who Profits.
Who Profits requested the response of all the companies that are mentioned in this report. Only Galshan Shvakin replied to the Who Profits letter - the response letter is attached in the annex at the end of this report.
The privatization process of the checkpoints and the employment of private security guards, usually contractor workers who are not directly employed by the state, also enables the Israeli authorities to shirk their responsibility for activities taking place in the checkpoints. While the Israeli authorities take full responsibility for the activities of their employees, the private security companies’ responsibility for their workers is inadequate. As illustrated in this report, the private security industry in Israel is large and profitable, among other factors due to its extensive involvement in Israeli control and surveillance of the Palestinian people. The vast privatization policy of the Israeli governments contributes to the security companies’ growth in capital and authority and reduces the state responsibility for security operations in the oPt. In this sense, private companies became a crucial component of the Israeli occupation.