UN lists 112 businesses linked to Israeli settlements

UN lists 112 businesses linked to Israeli settlements

(UTV|Trump peace plan) – The UN human rights office has issued a long-awaited report on companies linked to Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The report names 112 business entities the office says it has reasonable grounds to conclude have been involved in activities related to settlements.

They include Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and Motorola Solutions.

The Palestinians said the report was a “victory for international law”, but Israel called it “shameful”.

About 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. The settlements are widely considered illegal under international law, though Israel has always disputed this.

The Palestinians have long called for the removal of the settlements, arguing that their presence on land they claim for a future independent Palestinian state makes it almost impossible to make such a state a reality.

Last month, US President Donald Trump unveiled a peace plan that may pave the way for Israel annexing the settlements.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his rejection of Mr Trump’s plan, describing the proposed Palestinian state as looking “like a Swiss cheese”.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was “the best plan that exists for the Middle East… and for the State of Israel and for the Palestinians, too”.

What does the report say?

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council mandated the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to produce a database of companies involved in specific activities relating to settlements. The activities included:

  • Supplying equipment and materials facilitating the construction and expansion of settlements and Israel’s West Bank barrier
  • Supplying equipment for the demolition of housing and property, and the destruction of farms, greenhouses, olive groves and crops
  • Providing services and utilities supporting the maintenance and existence of settlements, including transport
  • Banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain settlements and their activities, including loans for housing and businesses

Following what it said was a thorough review and assessment of all information available, the OHCHR presented a report on Wednesday identifying 112 business entities that it said, there were reasonable grounds to conclude, had been involved in one or more of those activities.

Of the entities listed, 94 are domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other states – the United States, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Thailand and the UK.

(Agencies)

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