A blacklist report was released today by the human rights office of the UN containing names of 112 companies with ties to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Of the 112 companies, which include Bezeq telecommunications, Teva Pharmaceutical industries and soft drink company Coca Cola, 94 are based in Israel, with 18 in six other countries. The Jerusalem Post reported that companies featured on the blacklist were not notified of its imminent release.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet 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.”
However, featured company, Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd, in a letter from CEO Tal Granot-Goldstein to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, called on “the Israeli government and the Foreign Ministry intervene to prevent the publication of this list. Handling this matter is a national interest of the utmost importance”.
Citing the belief that “the inclusion of Israeli companies in the UN Human Rights Council’s blacklist might expose those companies to legal procedures, prompting international corporations to pull out of their investments in Israel”.
The long-awaited report was expected to be published in 2019 but was delayed over similar concerns, namely that companies appearing in the document could be subject to boycotts or divestment as a result of international pressure to prohibit trade with illegal settlements.
The UN human rights council approved a resolution to gather a blacklist of international companies operating in the illegal settlements in 2016 and in January 2018 identified 206 companies operating the West Bank.
The 2018 UN report stated the “the violations of [Palestinian] human rights associated with [Israeli] settlements are pervasive and devastating, reaching every facet of Palestinian life.”
“Owing to settlement development and infrastructure, Palestinians suffer from restrictions on freedom of religion, movement and education; their rights to land and water; access to livelihoods and their right to an adequate standard of living; their rights to family life; and many other fundamental human rights,” the report added.
The release of the blacklist comes weeks after US President Donald Trump announced his plan for peace in the middle east, a move which was widely rejected by regional leaders.