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The Kimberley Process: Israel’s multi-billion dollar blood diamond laundry 

29 19 0

Last week there was a callous, brutal attack on a sleeping family in their home in Gaza which killed a husband and wife, blowing their shredded bodies across a street; the ensuing bombardment killed 34 people including a family of eight. That this was all done by a leading member of the global diamond industry illustrates starkly the magnitude of the “conflict free” fraud perpetrated by that industry.

Few people are aware that diamonds are Israel’s number one manufacturing export, a “cornerstone” of its economy. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that economy “generates 88 per cent of the vast security budget that funds the Israel Defence Forces, [and security agencies] Mossad and Shin Bet.”

The Jerusalem Post indicates that, “Israel turns over about $28 billion in diamonds a year. The value of exported diamonds is so significant (about a fifth of total industrial exports) that the government reports its figures sans diamonds to ensure the gems do not skew the values.”

All this week, members of the Kimberley Process (KP) diamond regulatory body are meeting in New Delhi to conclude a three year period of review and reform aimed primarily at expanding the definition of a “conflict diamond” in order to outlaw diamonds linked to human rights violations by government forces. That effort is certain to fail. Not a single motion has been tabled to outlaw blood diamonds that enter the supply chain downstream of the mining sector.

Despite the bloodshed, violence and unregulated nuclear weapons funded by its revenue, the jewellery industry claims brazenly that diamonds processed in Israel are responsibly sourced and conflict free. Given the unwavering political, financial and economic support given to Israel by the USA, EU, India, Canada and Australia, and their influence in the KP, none of these countries are ever going to allow the body to ban Israeli blood diamonds; to do so would sound the death knell for Israel’s number one manufacturing industry.

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The jewellery industry also wants to keep the lid firmly shut on this Pandora’s Box. Israel is a key player in the diamond supply chain. Unless forced by consumer pressure, corporations and companies won’t cut ties with the Israeli diamond industry without direction from international bodies such as the KP or the UN; that will never happen given the impunity that Israel enjoys and exploits.

This was made clear by Anglo American chairman Stuart Chambers at the company’s AGM in London in April. When I asked why De Beers and Forevermark continue to trade with companies in Israel that generate revenue used to fund war crimes and crimes against humanity he said, “Certainly as a company we would, as you would expect, always respect the political community in their sitting in judgement of national states or........

© Middle East Monitor