On 25 June, the municipal council in Molenbeek, Brussels, Belgium, approved the first municipal motion in Europe to prohibit the granting of public municipal contracts to corporations that are complicit in the occupation of Palestine, and all corporations flouting international law.
The measure was introduced by Dirk De Block of the Workers Party of Belgium and Jamal Ikazban of the Socialist Party, and was supported by sp.a (the Socialist Party of Anders), the GIC (Communal Interest Group) and Ecolo-Groen.
The measure was submitted after the discovery that G4S, the corporation subject to an international boycott campaign for its provision of security systems and hardware to Israeli prisons holding Palestinian political prisoners, had signed a contract with the municipality.
In October, an official rule will be promulgated for all public contracts issued by the munciipality in line with the motion. “A large majority of local councillors expressed their wish to not grant public tenders to corporations like G4S, who are directly involved in the occupation and colonization of Palestine,” said Ikazban.
Next month, a committee will be formed to create the official rule according to legal guidelines for public contracting. “After we discovered that G4S had signed a contract with the municipality we decided, with the PS, to file a motion to exclude this type of corporation,” said De Block. “We especially thank the peace and solidarity organizations that have worked for years on the case of G4S.”
Both Ikazban and De Block expressed their hopes that the decision of Molenbeek’s council, a first in Belgium and in the Brussels-Capital region will be replicated by other municipalities and at other levels of authority.