CRH named in $34 billion anti-Israel lawsuit

Palestinian activists trying to sue groups for allegedly ‘profiteering’ from building Jewish settlements in the West Bank

CRH owned a 25 per cent stake in Nesher, an Israeli cement company, until last year. For years the investment was a magnet for criticism of CRH by pro-Palestinian activists

CRH owned a 25 per cent stake in Nesher, an Israeli cement company, until last year. For years the investment was a magnet for criticism of CRH by pro-Palestinian activists

 

CRH has been dragged into a $34 billion US lawsuit launched this month by Palestinian activists against about 40 Israeli-connected groups and business, despite selling all of its interests in the country last year.

The Irish building materials giant has been named as a defendant in a case filed two weeks ago in Washington DC by the activists who are trying to sue various groups with connections to Israel for allegedly “profiteering” from the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

CRH owned a 25 per cent stake in Nesher, an Israeli cement company, until last year. For years, the investment was a magnet for controversy and criticism of CRH by pro-Palestinian activists.

The company said in January it had sold out stake in Nesher, as part of a wide-ranging review of its global assets.

The company once again confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that it no longer had any interests in Israel.

Documents for this month’s US lawsuit, which was filed for the activists by Irish-American lawyer Martin McMahon, still refer to a CRH link with Nesher.

Despite the fact it has divested, the lawyer insists the activists will continue to pursue CRH in the US courts over its past co- ownership.

The lawsuit accuses Nesher of, among other things, supplying concrete for the foundations of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and also for barriers that it says were used in the alleged “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from parts of the West Bank.

Nesher is also accused of the alleged “pillage” of Palestinian resources by allegedly extracting minerals from Palestinian land for use in its products.

CRH chief executive Albert Manifold and former chief executives Liam O’Mahony and Myles Lee all feature by name in the court documents. The company would not comment on the case last night.

“Based on our understanding of international law, a company cannot one day pick up its construction equipment, announce it is departing a particular country after exploiting it . . . and avoid all liability,” said Mr McMahon.

“It is good that it decided to get out, as that should cut off the possibility of liability for future involvement, but we will still be pursuing CRH.”

Others among the roughly 40 defendants include G4S security, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and various pro-Israel US groups. The plaintiffs also include Palestinians who lost family members in the conflict with Israel.