Japanese motor company Honda will sponsor a motorcycle race event in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Activists are demanding that the company comply with international law and revoke their sponsorship.
“By putting its name to an Israeli government-sponsored motor race in the occupied West Bank, Honda is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights,” Jamal Juma, a member of the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, told The Electronic Intifada.
The Motor Grand Prize event will take place in the Petzael race track, recently built near the Petzael illegal settlement in the Jordan Valley.
Palestinian and Japanese activists and human right groups sent a letter to Honda asking it to pull out of the event, which they consider would be collaborating with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, illegal under international law.
“This race is being used by Israel to legitimize its military occupation and it’s yet another example of how Israel uses sports to whitewash its crimes,” Juma said.
If Honda doesn't comply with the activist demands, they may face international boycott with the support of the BDS movement.
The event will be held by Honda's branch in Israel and its distributor, Mayer Cars and Trucks, which provides transportation services to settlements in the West Bank.
In a recent report, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations said “businesses play a key role in facilitating the overall settlement enterprise, contributing to Israel’s confiscation of land and the transfer of its population through commercial development.”
The report said the Israeli government is systematically encouraging businesses in the occupied territories to support illegal settlements there. They compiled a detailed list of 96 enterprises involved in businesses in occupied territories and their related activities, but refrain from revealing their names under U.S. and Israeli pressure.
According to the +972 Magazine, Part of the race track was built inside of an Israel Defense Forces live firing zone in the West Bank. This zone designation is strategically used by the occupation to force Palestinians to move away.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank receive full support from the Israeli State, fulfilling their basic needs and building separate roads for them, while neighboring Palestinian villages are being suffocated.
Near the Petzael settlement and its race track, for example, there's the Khirbet Tana Palestinian village, continuously harassed and demolished by the occupation.
The Jordan Valley represents one of the most fertile zones in the region and is therefore one of the main territorial targets for Israel.