Palestinians hail UN report on firms with Israeli settlement ties

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian foreign minister hailed the release on Wednesday of a UN Rights office report on companies with Israeli settlement, which are considered illegal under international law, ties and urged the international community to press the businesses to cut their links with the enclaves.
“The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law,” said a statement issued by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki’s office.
Maliki urged UN-member states and the UN Human Rights council to “issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements.”
The UN report comes in response to a 2016 UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a “database for all businesses engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”.
The UN rights office said that listing companies in the database was “not, and does not purport to be, a judicial or quasi-judicial process”.
Among the businesses on the list are a range of large international companies, including Airbnb, Alstom, Booking.com and Motorola Solutions. “I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said.
But she added that the findings had been subject to an “extensive and meticulous review process” and the report “reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate”.
The database was scheduled to be released three years ago, but has repeatedly been delayed.
The rights office initially evaluated more than 300 companies.
But the final report published on Wednesday cited 112 business entities that the office had “reasonable grounds to conclude have been involved in one or more of the specific activities referenced” in the 2016 resolution.
It said 94 of the listed companies had their headquarters in Israel, while 18 others were spread across six other countries. — AFP

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