Complicit Companies in Gaza Blockade

Gaza Farmer rinses crops

Farmer in Gaza washes his fava bean field after the spraying. Photo by Muhammad Sa’id, B’Tselem, 23 Jan. 2017 

Monsanto (Bayer), Dow (DowDuPont), Adama (ChemChina) implicated in Gaza blockade

Our AFSC colleagues working on Economic Activism recently released an important update on our Investigate site regarding companies that are complicit in the blockade of Gaza.

For several years the Israeli military has been spraying Palestinian farm lands near the boundary fence in Gaza, destroying crops and contaminating water sources.

A freedom of information application, filed by the Israeli human rights organization Gisha, revealed the chemicals used and the companies involved. The spraying is executed by two Israeli civilian aviation companies, Chim-Nir and Telem Aviation, at the direction of the Israeli military’s Gaza Division. According to the information from the contracts with these aviation companies, the brands of herbicides used include: 

  • Glyphosate (Roundup) - produced by U.S.-based company Monsanto, a subsidiary of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer (FWB: BAYN). In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. In 2018, a U.S. court ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a California resident because his cancer was found to be caused by Roundup. Monsanto faces thousands of similar lawsuits in the U.S. alone.
  • Oxyfluorfen (Goal) - produced by U.S.-based company Dow Chemical, now part of DowDuPont (NYSE: DWDP), the world's largest chemical company in terms of sales. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies oxyfluorfen as a possible human carcinogen since 1992. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found Oxyfluorfen to be a health hazard for anyone handling it without protective gear or consuming food contaminated with the herbicide.
  • Diuron (Diurex) - produced by Israeli company ADAMA Agricultural Solutions (formerly Makhteshim Agan Industries), a subsidiary of ChemChina - the state owned China National Chemical Corporation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found Diuron to produce “dioxin-like effects,” i.e. reproductive and developmental problems, harm to the immune system, and cancer.

Our AFSC colleagues point out: "While herbicides do not qualify as “chemical weapons,” Israel’s use of them in Gaza may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. In general, international humanitarian law requires that, during wartime and occupation, civilians and humanitarian interests must be protected. Customary international humanitarian law severely restricts the use of herbicides as in warfare. Herbicides must not be used against vegetation which is not a military target, if it causes excessive incidental damage to civilian objects, or if it could cause widespread, long-term, and severe damage to the natural environment."

To read the full report, click here.