UN takes first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights

Activism

September 27, 2017  — Today’s media reports revealed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the globe, warning them that they could be added to a database of complicit companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements based in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The letters reminded these companies that their operations in and with illegal Israeli settlements are in violation of “international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.” They also requested that these companies respond with clarifications about such operations.

According to senior Israeli officials, some of the companies have already responded to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights by saying they won’t renew their contracts or sign new ones in Israel. “This could turn into a snowball,” worried an Israeli official.

Of the 150 companies, some 30 are American firms, and a number are from nations including Germany, South Korea and Norway. The remaining half are Israeli companies, including pharmaceutical giant Teva, the national phone company Bezeq, bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot, the county’s two biggest banks Hapoalim and Leumi, the large military and technology company Elbit Systems, Coca-Cola, Africa-Israel, IDB and Netafim.

American companies that received letters include Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb.

The Trump administration is reportedly trying to prevent the list’s publication.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, commented,

After decades of Palestinian dispossession and Israeli military occupation and apartheid, the United Nations has taken its first concrete, practical step to secure accountability for ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. Palestinians warmly welcome this step.

We hope the UN Human Rights Council will stand firm and publish its full list of companies illegally operating in or with Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and will develop this list as called for by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016.

It may be too ambitious to expect this courageous UN accountability measure to effectively take Israel “off the pedestal,” as South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu once called for. But if implemented properly, this UN database of companies that are complicit in some of Israel’s human rights violations may augur the beginning of the end of Israel’s criminal impunity.

About Palestinian BDS National Committee

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. For more information, visit www.bdsmovement.net/BNC.

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18 Responses

  1. Citizen
    September 27, 2017, 6:27 pm

    Mmmm, nothing about this on the nightly cable tv news shows….

    • DaBakr
      September 28, 2017, 4:44 am

      I saw it on various news outlets, but yes, not above the continuing trump/nfl, trump/healthcare trump/korea plus hurricane damage

  2. jd65
    September 27, 2017, 7:09 pm

    Cue the grotesque upcoming Nikki Haley freak show…

  3. JosephA
    September 27, 2017, 7:58 pm

    Finally, some good news regarding Palestine and Israel.

  4. Kay24
    September 27, 2017, 8:49 pm

    This is great news, and long, long overdue. I hope this will be the start of more action, to hold Israel accountable, for thumbing it’s nose at the world community, stealing lands, and carrying on as if it is legal, and also for these shameless pro zionist companies, who defied the rules, and went ahead anymore to put down their roots in stolen lands. The ONLY way to hurt Israel is economically. Let them feel the pinch, and let them be treated like other rogue nations.
    I wish this was done years ago.

  5. Brewer
    September 28, 2017, 3:25 am

    Enlightenment. For an extraordinary insight into the why the Zionist ideology cannot understand the non-Jewish World:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2155&v=6cePM18Yvp8

    Nothing I have ever seen compares with this presentation.
    Phil, Annie, whoever, please put it up as a lead.

    • amigo
      September 28, 2017, 3:40 pm

      Thanks for the link.

      This should be put front and center on every major US media outlet.

    • jon s
      September 28, 2017, 4:28 pm

      Brewer,
      Some rabbis are bigots and racists and some are quite the opposite. Both sides can produce quotes from traditional Jewish sources to make their case.
      It also wouldn’t be too difficult to show Muslim clergy who justify and call for the murder of Jews.That does not mean that all Muslims think the same.

      • Brewer
        September 28, 2017, 5:37 pm

        I am sincerely interested in hearing your assessment as to the extent HaRav David Bar-Hayim’s lecture reflects Israeli thought. You and I have our differences regarding History and Historiography but I have detected a common humanity and therefore respect your opinion.
        I may be over-reacting but there is something in his delivery that is at once so reasonable sounding yet perverse.

      • Talkback
        September 28, 2017, 6:40 pm

        jon s: “Some rabbis are bigots and racists and some are quite the opposite. Both sides can produce quotes from traditional Jewish sources to make their case.”

        But he quotes from the Kenesset HaGedolah which is an imporant halachic source of one of the essential figures in Jewish scholarship. This is not a loony fringe position.

      • Mooser
        September 28, 2017, 7:33 pm

        “Some rabbis are bigots and racists and some are quite the opposite. Both sides can produce quotes from traditional Jewish sources to make their case.
        It also wouldn’t be too difficult to show Muslim clergy who justify and call for the murder of Jews”

        Look how far we have come! Look how open Judaism is to new influences! Why we used to say we were just as good as Christians, but now we include Muslim comparisons, too.

      • Mooser
        September 29, 2017, 12:31 pm

        Just gotta say, “Jon s”, how plainly you the effect of the High Holy Days. You’re not just forgiven (and reminded of the sinfulness of everybody else), you’re recharged,for the next year too!

        “But he quotes from the Kenesset HaGedolah which is an imporant halachic source of one of the essential figures in Jewish scholarship. “

        Now “Jon s” will tell us that ‘oh, nobody in Israel pays attention to that deep religious stuff’.

      • jon s
        October 1, 2017, 6:54 am

        Brewer,
        Sorry for not responding sooner, I was busy with Yom Kippur.

        I confess that until now I’ve never heard of Rabbi David Bar Haim. I suppose that what’s so troubling is that he’s not screaming and foaming at the mouth, he speaks calmly , with a pleasant Australian accent. He quotes the Knesset Hagdolah, written in the 17th century by Rabbi Haim Benveniste, in the Ottoman Empire.

        Jewish sources are are a virtual ocean. You can find arguments for nearly every point of view, and its opposite. For bigotry and racism and also for justice peace and equality. It so happens that just yesterday, on Yom Kippur , Jews all over the world read and studied the Book of Jonah, a little gem of a book in the Bible. In the book it’s the non-Jews whose behavior is exemplary and the one Jewish character is Jonah himself whose behavior is, shall we say, problematic. One of the lessons we can learn from it is a rejection of bigotry and racism.

        I’m not dodging your question. There’s a lot of racism and fascist tendencies in Israeli society. (Hardly unique in today’s world, unfortunately…)And there are those of us who haven’t given up on the struggle for peace, for democracy, for social justice.

        For more such Jewish sources see here:
        http://www.on1foot.org/

      • Mooser
        October 1, 2017, 1:33 pm

        “Sorry for not responding sooner, I was busy with Yom Kippur.”

        Oh, really? I would hardly have noticed. Of course, the blessings of Yom Kippur are multiplied for every time you announce your observance of it.

        “I confess that until now I’ve never heard of Rabbi David Bar Haim.”

        “Jon s” many of the good Rabbi’s adherents live in Beersheva. You could hardly be unaware of their activities.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 28, 2017, 4:33 pm

      thanks brewer, will check out.

  6. jon s
    September 28, 2017, 4:44 am

    I view this favorably. As a supporter of two states I regard the settlements as serious obstacles to achieving the two state solution. I’ve always supported and practiced a boycott of the settlements.

    • Mooser
      September 28, 2017, 5:37 pm

      .” I’ve always supported and practiced a boycott of the settlements.”

      So you have left Beersheva? A resident of Beersheva” who “practiced a boycott of the settlements”. ( Maybe you only boycott settlements that don’t murder Eritreans?)
      “Israeli left” hypocrisy at its finest.

  7. Alfred Gluecksmann
    September 29, 2017, 3:32 pm

    Bravo ! At long last a major move forward to begin to redress the decades long torturous suffering being meted out on the predominantly innocent, unarmed Palestinians by the dishonest, corrupt, hegemonist, supremacist Zionist misleaders of Israel.

    UN Secretary General António Guterres must be lauded for this initiative to end once for all the notion that some mythical so-called “exceptionalist” invention renders it immune to the Kafkaesque torture and international law violations it has been meting out on the autochthonous Palestinians of Palestine.

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