UN Releases List Of Companies With Ties To Jewish Settlements
Above Photo: A worker carries boxes containing wine bottles for export at Shiloh Wineries, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah Nov. 8, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
Among the companies listed were Airbnb, eDreams, TripAdvisor, and Motorola.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report Wednesday listing all the 112 companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The report identified 112 firms which it has reasonable grounds to conclude that have ties with illegal Israeli settlements, from which 94 are in Israel and 18 in six other countries including the United States, Britain, and France. Goods produced there include fruit, vegetables, and wine.
The database was created in 2016 after the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) voted the resolution 31/36 instructing the OHCHR to create a list of businesses engaged in activities in Israel’s settlements. The list should have been submitted to the HCR at its 34th session in March 2017 and updated annually since.
Inclusion on the list has no immediate legal implications for the companies, but the report can help boycotts or divestment campaigns aimed at stepping up pressure on Israel over its illegal West Bank settlements. None of the companies named made any immediate comment on their inclusion on the list.
Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, are illegal under international law, breaching the Fourth Geneva Convention, among other international agreements and U.N. resolutions.
Preventing expected Israeli and U.S. attacks, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned in a statement that the report “does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them.” Her spokesman Rupert Colville said that work on the report involved extensive cross-checking and use of company annual reports.
Last year, over 100 human rights groups sent Bachelet a letter demanding the publication of the database
There was no immediate reaction by the United States, Israel’s main ally, but Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the report a “shameful capitulation” to anti-Israel groups.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki welcomed the report as a “victory for international law” and urged U.N. member states to issue instructions to the companies listed “to end their work immediately with the settlement system.”
Human rights groups also broadly welcomed the report. Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy at Human Rights Watch Bruno Stagno said in a statement the report “should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration in effect backed Israel’s so-called right to build Jewish settlements on Nov. 18 last year by abandoning its long-held position that they were “inconsistent with international law.”
The report was issued on the eve of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s main annual session opening in Geneva from Feb 24. Neither Israel nor the United States are members of the forum which both accuse of bias against Israel.