Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering and the Israeli occupation Dec 2016
Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering is a civil engineering and construction company that operates numerous plants for construction materials. The company is a subsidiary of the Israeli public company Shapir Engineering and Industry, which was founded back in 1969 by the Shapira family: Hen, Israel, Harel and Gil Shapira. The company is exclusively engaged in the construction, development, and infrastructure of projects in several illegal settlements and is operating a number of plants for construction materials: it owns and operates cement plants and a stone quarry beyond the green line, thus exploiting Palestinian natural resources for the needs of the Israeli construction industry. The company’s latest and broad involvement in infrastructure of projects in the illegally occupied Palestinian territory will be presented in details in the coming section.
Construction of Roads: Connecting Israeli settlements to cities within the Green Line
According to a response by the Israeli Railways LTDS received by Who Profits following a Freedom of Information request[L1] , the company signed a contract with the Israeli Railways LTD in 2008 to build section C of the A1 fast Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway. This railway crosses into the occupied West Bank, exploits Palestinian land for an exclusively Israeli transportation project. This railroad not only prevents Palestinian farmers from using their lands but also intensifies the geographical connection between neighborhoods in the illegal settlements and neighborhoods within the green line. According to the company’s website this part of the railway is currently under construction. Within the framework of the project, the company is responsible for the quarrying of a total six tunnels (One of which is the longest tunnel so far) as well as two bridges.
According to another contract that was signed in 2012 by the Shapir and Moriah Company for the Development of Jerusalem, Shapir was responsible for conducting the pavement of the second section of road 50 referred to as “Begin south” road, including all its extension. Section two of road 50 is another stage in expending the road beyond the green line and connecting cities within the green line to the settlement neighborhood of Gilo and to highway number 60 (The tunnels road). According to Moriah Company, this section will prevent traffic gams from Atarot in the north (road 443) to Dov Yosef Street (Gilo) in the south which will also enable the flow of traffic without any stoplights. Two new sections were opened recently (in 2015 and in 2016) and the entire project is due to end by 2017.
Construction and infrastructure in the oPt
The Company had built four buildings of eight apartment each and another twenty-two cottages in Ma’ale Adumim settlement. It had built a bridge in Pisgat Ze’ev; two bridges and an interchange in Ramot neighborhood in East Jerusalem; a 350 meter long bridge in the cluster of Gush Etzion and the “Eshkol tunnel” under the National Headquarters of the Israeli Police which is located in Kiryat Menachem Begin in East Jerusalem.
As presented, the company’s activity in the occupied Palestinian territory is broad as is the company’s profit from it. It is important to note that the company does not indicate, in any way, that these construction and infrastructure projects are projects done in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The company constantly claims professionalism in the infrastructure sector in Israel as one of the biggest companies in this field even though its activity is considered illegal by the international law.
Exploitation of Palestinian Natural resources
The company holds control over all stages of its infrastructure activity, from operating quarries and plants to the actual implantation of the work. By doing so, the company continues to accumulate escalating profit. Two of the company’s cement plants are located in the illegally occupies Palestinian territory: one in the industrial zone of Atarot in East Jerusalem and another in the settlement of Migdal Oz in the Jordan Valley. In addition, the company owns the stone quarry “Natuf” in the West Bank, located next to Nili settlement. The exploitation of stone and other natural resources in the West bank along with the harsh [L2] restrictions on Palestinian economic activity since the Oslo accords bears devastating ramifications on the Palestinian economy. Therefore, The Company profits from the natural resources of the occupied Palestinian territory and uses these resources for construction and infrastructure of projects within the green line as well as for the benefit of settlers and settlements in the occupied territory. Hence, the company is using stolen Palestinian natural resources for the benefit of settlements and settlers exclusively.