UN enlist firms linked to illegal Israeli occupations
Although the vast majority of the world considers settlements illegal, the UN report
Geneva Switzerland 12 february 2020 (GNP) : Although the vast majority of the world considers settlements illegal, the UN report, that includes firms like Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Opodo, Motorola and General Mills, does not accuse the companies of violating international law.
The UN human rights office on Wednesday released a list of more than 100 companies it said are complicit in violating Palestinian human rights by operating in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank — a first-ever international attempt to name and shame businesses that has drawn fierce Israeli condemnation.
The list’s publication after repeated delays escalated a looming showdown between Israel and the international community over its more than half-century policy of building illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Emboldened by a new US Mideast initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex Israel’s more than 100 settlements, while the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has indicated she will soon launch a war-crimes investigation into settlement policies.
The list included well known global companies, among them Airbnb, Motorola and General Mills. Although the vast majority of the world considers settlements illegal, Wednesday’s report did not accuse the companies of violating international law. Instead, it appeared to be aimed at pressuring them by drawing negative attention to their ties to a much-maligned Israeli policy.
“I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “However, after an extensive and meticulous review process, we are satisfied this fact-based report reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate.”
The Human Rights Council in 2016 instructed the UN’s human rights office to create a “database” of companies deemed to be linked to or supportive of the settlements. Beginning with a potential list of over 300 companies, it narrowed it down to 112 firms involved in practices that raised human rights concerns, such as settlement construction, security services, banking and equipment that was used to demolish Palestinian property. (GNP)