Once again, mega-corporations are lining up to rake in oily profits from colonial bloodshed and war
On Monday 20th November, activists from Fossil Free London blocked the doors to the headquarters of BP, standing in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza.
Devastation is raining on Gaza. There’s no inoffensive way of packaging the current reality in Palestine. With over 13,300 Palestinians dead, including 5,600 children, and a mounting stack of Israeli war crimes.
You may have heard the phrase “there are no winners in war”. This certainly doesn’t seem to be true for British Petroleum or for their shareholders.
On the 30th October, nearly a month into Israel’s bombing campaign, the Israeli government handed out 12 licences to 6 companies, including BP, for gas exploration off of the coast of Gaza.
Dr Ashok Kumar Senior Lecturer of Political Economy at Birkbeck, University of London, who attended the action, said -
“As Israel continues its genocide on the people of Gaza, all the bosses of BP see is a business opportunity. The people of Gaza are starving, are being bombed, and are deprived of fuel, but fossil fuel companies are swarming like vultures to try and poach Palestine’s natural resources, making billions in profits in the process. It’s a new take on the old adage, ‘when there’s blood on the streets, pump gas!’
“All the time fossil fuel companies continue to profit from human suffering, we will be here to hold them to account. The climate movement stands in solidarity with Palestinians, and against this opportunistic profiteering"
BP is also on track to acquire 50% of NewMed, an Israeli petroleum company that was also granted one of these licences. They are the 45% owners of Leviathan, the largest gas field in the Mediterranean.
Such revelations raise the question of whether the steadfast carte-blanche handed to Israel by Western governments like the US and UK is truly motivated by a desire to support Israel’s “right to defend itself”, or whether, as with previous recent Western backed atrocities, there are other material factors at play.
In 2019, it was confirmed that the total oil and gas reserves across Palestine are worth a whopping $524 billion. Yes, you read that correctly. Half a trillion dollars!
The profits to be made from the colonial extraction and exploitation of Palestine’s natural resources are huge. It seems that for BP and their shareholders and other such corporations, the profits outweigh the terrible suffering handed out to the people on the ground.
The evidence is clear - the profiteering has already begun. And people know it. The climate movement knows it.
On Monday 20th November, climate activists joined together in protest of this petrochemical resource grab, blocking all entry points to the London headquarters of BP.
This was not just to protest BP’s heinous role in supporting new oil and gas extraction, nor their wider ongoing contributions to planetary destruction in the climate crisis. On arrival, demonstrators proudly unfurled a banner with BP’s logo, Palestinian flags, and a demand:
“Stop Fuelling Genocide!”
After a successful action at the London offices of Israeli-owned Ithaca Energy, the 20% owners of Rosebank, the largest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea, and a silent protest outside Barclays bank, the climate movement sought to echo the message repeated by Greta Thunberg at a recent demonstration in Amsterdam. There is no climate justice on occupied land.
Chants tying together the Gazan genocide and climate injustice rung out down the street as red and green smoke flares were lit.
BP was not the only company mentioned. Protestors noted that there are other parties who are seeking to make profits from the indiscriminate bombing of the world’s largest open-air prison.
In May 2023, BP signed a £1.5 billion deal with Infosys - a company co-founded by the father of Rishi Sunak’s wife. Sunak’s wife holds tens of millions of pounds worth of shares in Infosys, meaning our Prime Minister stands to directly profit from the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
And so, the climate movement is moving in a new direction.
Climate justice cannot be isolated from justice for Palestinians. Climate justice cannot be isolated from decolonial justice. Climate justice cannot be isolated from anti-capitalism.
In recognising the intersectionality between movements of oppressed peoples, we all become stronger. We hold each other up.
Fossil Free London have said they intend to continue their line of climate-Palestine actions, targeting those complicit, those who seek to profit from climate destruction and ethnic cleansing, in the fight for a just world, free from the profiteering of opportunistic oily-garchs.
There must be rivers! There must be seas! Palestine must be freed!