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UN releases database of companies operating in illegal West Bank settlements

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After countless delays, the UN released the highly-anticipated database of companies that operate in Israel’s hundreds of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released the list on Wednesday to Palestinain fanfare and Israeli condemnation.

The list names 112 business enterprises — 94 Israeli and 18 international — that have ties to illegal settlements, and are involved in one or more of the following 10 activities as stated by the OHCHR:

  • The supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements and the wall, and associated infrastructures;
  • The supply of surveillance and identification equipment for settlements, the wall and checkpoints directly linked with settlements;
  • The supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, the destruction of agricultural farms, greenhouses, olive groves and crops;
  • The supply of security services, equipment and materials to enterprises operating in settlements;
  • The provision of 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 the development of businesses;
  • The use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes;
  • Pollution, and the dumping of waste in or its transfer to Palestinian villages;
  • Captivity of the Palestinian financial and economic markets, as well as practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises, including through restrictions on movement, administrative and legal constraints;
  • Use of benefits and reinvestments of enterprises owned totally or partially by settlers for developing, expanding and maintaining the settlements.

According to the council, the initial investigation began with a potential list of 321 companies, but was eventually narrowed down to the business enterprises listed below. The database is expected to be updated every year, with more companies to be added to the list.

Among the international businesses listed are several companies in the travel industry previously known to operate in settlements, like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor.

American food manufacturer General Mills and telecommunications giant Motorola Inc. are also on the list, along with British corporation JCB Ltd. which manufactures construction and demolition equipment.

The high commissioner of the council, Michelle Bachelet, released a statement along with the report, saying she was “conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious.”

“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, and that it responds appropriately to the Human Rights Council’s request contained in resolution 31/36.”

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 31/36, requesting the OHCHR to produce a report investigating the “implications of settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Due to heavy Israeli and US pressure, the publication of the report was delayed for years, to the disdain of human rights groups around the world.

The release of the report on Wednesday was swiftly criticized by Israel and its supporters. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called it a “stain” on the OHCHR, and threatened action against the council by Israel.

“The State of Israel will not tolerate this discriminatory anti-Israel policy, and will take action to prevent the implementation of these kinds of decisions,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the council a “biased and uninfluential body” in a statement. “Instead of dealing with human rights this body is trying to blacken Israel’s name. We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust,” he said.

Palestinians and their supporters hailed the release of the report, with the Palestinian Prime Minsiter Mohammed Shtayyeh saying the Palesitnian government will “pursue the companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and through the courts in their countries for their role in violating human rights.”

PA Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Riyad Malki called the publication of the list a “victory for international law and diplomatic effort in order to dry up the resources of the colonial system represented in the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement released a statement praising the release of the list as a “first significant and concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian rights.

BDS did call out a number of companies and banks that were left off the list, like Hewlett Packard companies, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Volvo, Heidelberg Cement, and Cemex, as being “irrefutably implicated in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”

“It is high time for all public institutions, city councils, churches, trade unions, cultural organizations, universities, investment funds, and others to stop contracting, procuring from or investing in any of the companies on the UN list of shame, to avoid complicity in Israel’s settlement enterprise,” the group said.

List of companies operating in illegal settlements in the West Bank:

Afikim Public Transportation Ltd.
Airbnb Inc.
American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd.
Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd.
Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd.
Angel Bakeries
Archivists Ltd.
Ariel Properties Group
Ashtrom Industries Ltd.
Ashtrom Properties Ltd.
Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd.
Bank Hapoalim B.M.
Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M.
Bank of Jerusalem Ltd.
Beit Haarchiv Ltd.
Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication
Corp Ltd.
Booking.com B.V.
C Mer Industries Ltd.
Café Café Israel Ltd.
Caliber 3
Cellcom Israel Ltd.
Cherriessa Ltd.
Chish Nofei Israel Ltd.
Citadis Israel Ltd.
Comasco Ltd.
Darban Investments Ltd.
Delek Group Ltd.
Delta Israel
Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd.
Egis Rail
Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd.
Energix Renewable Energies Ltd.
EPR Systems Ltd.
Extal Ltd.
Expedia Group Inc.
Field Produce Ltd.
Field Produce Marketing Ltd.
First International Bank of Israel Ltd.
Galshan Shvakim Ltd.
General Mills Israel Ltd.
Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.
Hot Mobile Ltd.
Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd.
Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd.
Israel Discount Bank Ltd.
Israel Railways Corporation Ltd.
Italek Ltd.
JC Bamford Excavators Ltd.
Jerusalem Economy Ltd.
Kavim Public Transportation Ltd.
Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd.
Matrix IT Ltd.
Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd.
Mekorot Water Company Ltd.
Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd.
Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd.
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.
Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd.
Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd.
Municipal Bank Ltd.
Naaman Group Ltd.
Nof Yam Security Ltd.
Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd.
Opodo Ltd.
Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd.
Partner Communications Company Ltd.
Paz Oil Company Ltd.
Pelegas Ltd.
Pelephone Communications Ltd.
Proffimat S.R. Ltd.
Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd.
Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd.
Re/Max Israel
Shalgal Food Ltd.
Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd.
Shufersal Ltd.
Sonol Israel Ltd.
Superbus Ltd.
Tahal Group International B.V.
TripAdvisor Inc.
Twitoplast Ltd.
Unikowsky Maoz Ltd.
YES
Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd.
ZF Development and Construction
ZMH Hammermand Ltd.
Zorganika Ltd.
Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd.
Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd.
Alstom S.A.
Altice Europe N.V.
Amnon Mesilot Ltd.
Ashtrom Group Ltd.
Booking Holdings Inc.
Brand Industries Ltd.
Delta Galil Industries Ltd.
eDreams ODIGEO S.A.
Egis S.A.
Electra Ltd.
Export Investment Company Ltd.
General Mills Inc.
Hadar Group
Hamat Group Ltd.
Indorama Ventures P.C.L.
Kardan N.V.
Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Inc.
Natoon Group
Villar International Ltd.
Greenkote P.L.C.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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13 Responses

  1. Kay24 on February 13, 2020, 2:55 am

    The corrupt leader of Israel has already got his XXL knickers in a twist about it.

    They are acting the victim again, which reminds me of Trump. They break laws, and everyone who brings that into focus is mean and picking on them. Are we supposed to shed tears for them? Nah.

    BDS.

    • genesto on February 13, 2020, 12:55 pm

      ‘The corrupt leader of Israel has already got his XXL knickers in a twist about it.’

      Perfect! We need a political cartoon for this, maybe with Trump tied up in knots in these same knickers as he’s trying to kiss Bibi’s ass!

    • Misterioso on February 13, 2020, 3:10 pm

      @Kay24, et al

      https://www.juancole.com/2020/02/tripadvisor-collaborators-palestinian.html

      “AirBnB, Expedia, Tripadvisor Named by UN as Collaborators with Apartheid Israeli Squatter Settlements on Palestinian West Bank” Informed Comment, Feb. 13/20, by Juan Cole.

      “The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday released a long-awaited list of 112 companies that do business with Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank. These squatters have most often been covertly sent in by the Israeli government itself to steal Palestinian land, build on it, and profit from its resources such as water and agricultural land.

      “The United Nations estimates that from 2000 to 2017, the Israeli military occupation of Palestine cost the Palestinians $48 billion.

      “Michelle Bachelet, the well-regarded former president of Chile, is currently the High Commission for Human Rights, and her office issued the report. The timing of the release of report suggests to me that it may be a rebuke to the Trump administration’s attempt to whitewash Israeli crimes against humanity in Occupied Palestine.

      “The US companies that list rentals in Israeli squatter settlements may be considered to be trafficking in stolen goods and to be cooperating with an Apartheid regime. They include AirBnB, Expedia, and Trip Advisor. The Netherlands-based Booking.com is also named. The Israeli settlements are racially segregated, entirely excluding Palestinians, even though they are on Palestinian territory. It would be like white South Africans not letting black Africans live in some parts of Johannesburg. Oh wait . . .

      “AirBnB actually briefly in 2018 thought it might cease listing properties in the Apartheid squatter settlements, but backed down when Israel and pro-Israel American Jewish organizations threatened to sue it on the grounds that it would be boycotting Israel and discriminating against Jews (!).

      “I wrote then, ‘The European Union has for some time imposed some sorts of boycott on settlement institutions, and requires the labeling of settler goods, and a full economic boycott is under consideration in countries like Ireland.’

      “The argument sometimes heard is that Airbnb is treating the squatters differently than it does other disputed territories. It is a stupid argument and quite dishonest. There aren’t any other countries that are keeping 5 million people stateless and without citizenship in a state, and gradually usurping all their rights and property. The situation in the Occupied West Bank is unique, and deserves a unique response. There are countries that have incorporated somewhat unwilling populations into themselves, giving them a citizenship that they perhaps do not want. But that is different from stripping people of citizenship rights. Citizenship, as a US Supreme Court justice once correctly wrote, is the right to have rights.”

      “The Israeli military rule of 5 million stateless Palestinians is a form of Apartheid as defined in the Rome Statute of 2002 that governs the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

      “The Rome Statute (8.2.a) defines as a war crime the grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.

      “Further, 7.1.j and 7.2.h specify the crime of Apartheid as a ‘crime against humanity.’ 7.2.h defines it this way: ‘The crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime…’

      “The Palestinian West Bank and the Palestinian Gaza Strip were not settled by Zionists in the first half of the twentieth century and the UN General Assembly did not award them to Israel in its partition plan of 1947. (It wouldn’t have been decisive even if it had, since the UNGA doesn’t have the authority to divide up territory of people– the partition plan was a mere proposal). Israel militarily conquered Palestine in 1967 even though the people there were not in power and played no role in the 1967 war when Israel attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

      “Israel detached part of the Palestinian West Bank and added it to its district of Jerusalem, which is illegal. It then flooded 350,000 Israelis into this Palestinian territory, stealing their land and resources and leaving them poor and powerless.

      “Annexation is an act of aggression, forbidden by international law. By the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel cannot actually deprive Occupied Palestinians of their land rights by simply declaring those lands ‘annexed.’

      “In what was left of the Palestinian West Bank, Israel has sent in 400,000 squatters, who live on land to which Palestinians have title and who routinely brutalize the Palestinian villages near them. The squatters are estimated to have chopped down, i.e. sabotaged, a million olive trees belonging to Palestinian families since 1967.

      “Under UN Security Council resolutions and international law, Israel is the Occupying Power in the Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Military occupations are governed in international law by the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of populations under military occupation.

      “As I wrote on another occasion, ‘This squatting on Palestinian land contravenes the Fourth Geneva Accord of 1949 on Occupied Territories, which forbids transferring populations from the Occupying Power into the occupied lands.’ ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’

      “This rule was to prevent the repetition of the war crimes committed by Nazi Germany, which occupied other lands and sent Germans in to settle them.”

      Short Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=xE7nVLnV-S0&feature=emb_logo
      “Palestinians have welcomed a United Nations report on companies with business ties to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

      • Mooser on February 17, 2020, 1:31 pm

        NPR had an interminable interview with the head of Airbnb about their efforts to reduce discrimination in airbnb bookings. Settlements never came up, as far as I heard.

  2. Misterioso on February 13, 2020, 10:09 am

    BBC report:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51477231

    “UN lists 112 businesses linked to Israeli settlements”
    BBC News, Feb. 12/20

    “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.

    “‘The report makes clear that the reference to these business entities is not, and does not purport to be, a judicial or quasi-judicial process,’ the OHCHR said.

    “‘While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterisation of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them,’ it added.

    “Any further steps will be a matter for Human Rights Council member states.

    “‘I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,’ said Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    “What has been the reaction?

    “The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said: ‘The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law.’
    He also called on the Human Rights Council member states to ‘issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements.’

    “Mr. Netanyahu suggested his country would retaliate, saying on Twitter: ‘Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted. We strongly reject this contemptible effort.’

    “The main body representing Jewish settlers, the Yesha Council, said the list had ‘clear anti-Semitic features’ and insisted the companies were ‘working to strengthen the economy in the area and are contributing to peace more than the UN has done in all its years of operation.’

    “Human Rights Watch said the list ‘should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes.’

    “There were no immediate comments from the companies named on the list.”

  3. Vera Gottlieb on February 13, 2020, 10:45 am

    Regardless of this list, I have been BOYCOTTING anything coming from israel for a very long time already. And I shall continue BOYCOTTING until israel finally sees the light and treats Palestinians as people – not as street dogs.

  4. ckg on February 13, 2020, 12:56 pm

    General Mills brands:
    Annie’s, Betty Crocker, Bisquick, Blue Buffalo,BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom, BLUE Wilderness, Bugles, Cascadian Farm, Cheerios, Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp, EPIC, Fiber One, Food Should Taste Good, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, Gardetto’s, Go-Gurt, Gold Medal, Golden Grahams, Häagen-Dazs, Helpers, Jeno’s, Jus-Rol, Kitano, Kix, Lärabar, Latina, Liberté, Lucky Charms, Muir Glen, Nature Valley, Oatmeal Crisp, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Progresso, Raisin Nut Bran, Total, Totino’s, Trix, Wanchai Ferry, Wheaties, Yoki, Yoplait.

    • Bumblebye on February 13, 2020, 6:55 pm

      None of those (well, of those sold in the UK) have ever appeared on my shopping list.

      I gave up (rarely bought anyway) Soreen malt loaf because the owners donate to the Golani Brigade.

      I also avoid companies and businesses that don’t pay tax in the UK.

    • Kay24 on February 13, 2020, 7:30 pm

      Thank you, that was helpful.

  5. Mayhem on February 16, 2020, 9:51 pm

    More hypocrisy and bias by the UN Human Rights Council – yet another foul example of the obsessive targeting of Israel ahead of all other human rights situations around the world. The UN Human Rights Council has not released similar lists of companies operating in other occupied territories, such as Turkish-occupied Cyprus or the occupied Ukrainian territories.

    The businesses listed are legitimate businesses providing goods and services to the populations on the West Bank and East Jerusalem that are not breaking any international laws.

    A list of sanctioned Jewish businesses, created by a body consisting of some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, is reminiscent of 1930s Germany. The blacklist was commissioned as economic warfare against the Jewish state.

    Far from mobilising pressure against the settlement movement, the move has already backfired by uniting Israeli politicians and people in outrage. The blacklisted businesses employ thousands of Palestinians at higher wages and better conditions than the Palestinian average so this blacklist will hurt Palestinians and the Palestinian economy far more than it does Israel.

    The Palestinians will not succeed in removing any settlements through economic warfare and Nazi-like blacklists, but only through negotiations.

    • eljay on February 17, 2020, 8:32 am

      || Mayhem: More hypocrisy and bias by the UN Human Rights Council – yet another foul example of the obsessive targeting of Israel ahead of all other human rights situations around the world. … ||

      Zionism 101: Murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape.

      || … A list of sanctioned Jewish businesses … ||

      Israeli businesses. No need to get all anti-Semitic and “Jew hatred”-y.

      || … The blacklist was commissioned as economic warfare … ||

      I agree with you (like I agree with Debbie Wasserman) that Israel – a deliberately and unapologetically colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state – should not be “singled out” with a lame “blacklisting of companies working in the West Bank”. Like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya (to name but a few countries), it should be relentlessly demonized and subjected to crushing economic sanctions, destabilization, military occupation, bombardment campaigns and/or regime change.

    • oldgeezer on February 17, 2020, 1:24 pm

      @Mayhem
      blah blah “The UN Human Rights Council has not released similar lists of companies operating in other occupied territories” blah blah

      There are sanctions in place but I do agree Israel should be under sanctions as well so as to not single it out.

      “are not breaking any international laws.”

      Yeah they are. And they’re liable for being a part of the crimes against humanity. Read ICJ rulings.

      ” is reminiscent of 1930s Germany.”

      Yes it is. It’s reminiscent of the 1930’s boycott of Germany in response to excessive state violence and human rights abuses that was called for by people of moral principle. Same reason people call for a boycott of Israel.

      “the move has already backfired by uniting Israeli politicians and people in outrage”

      People perpetrating crimes against humanity whine about people taking legitimate free speech action in response. Who cares.

    • Talkback on February 17, 2020, 3:26 pm

      Mayhem: “More hypocrisy and bias by the UN Human Rights Council – yet another foul example of the obsessive targeting of Israel ahead of all other human rights situations around the world.”

      Is vetoing Security Council resolution in Israel’s favor to illegaly prolong its occupation not hypocrit enough?

      Mayhem: “A list of sanctioned Jewish businesses, created by a body consisting of some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, is reminiscent of 1930s Germany.”

      What a foul comparison. Let’s not forget that Jew’s called for a boycott against Gemany first. Was this racism against Germans? No, they were protesting how Nazi Germany treated Jews. The same is happening when Palestinans call for a boycott of Israel. Is this racism against Israelis? No. They are protesting how Israel is treating Nonjews in Palestine under Israeli occupation.

      Mayhem: ” The blacklisted businesses employ thousands of Palestinians at higher wages and better conditions than the Palestinian average so this blacklist will hurt Palestinians and the Palestinian economy far more than it does Israel.”

      ROFL. Nonisraeli Nonjews don’t even have a right to Israel’s mininum wage. But whose fault is it that the Palestinan’s economy under occupation is as it is? A UN report says the Israeli occupation has cost the Palestinian economy more than 2.5 billions of dollars on a yearly basis. And it’s not surprise that you are using a foul argument that was also used by South Africa under Apartheid.

      You are just an Apartheid supporter who takes Jews as such with his 1933 comparison as human shields to silence citicism against Israel.

      Secondly. Not all companies that are listed are even Jewish. Airbnb for example is not run by Jews.

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