The United Nations (UN) on Wednesday, February 12; finally released its database of companies involved in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank; including East Jerusalem; and also Syria’s Golan Heights.
The release of the database comes after years of unexplained delays; which prompted human rights organizations to express concern that the UN was succumbing to political pressure to suppress the information.
UN Human Rights Office issues a report on business enterprises involved in certain activities relating to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in response to a specific request by @UN_HRC. Learn more: https://t.co/qDVrtFZKwV
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 12, 2020
Israel’s colonial settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law; also, their construction is a war crime; one which is likewise being investigated by the International Criminal Court.
The report released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights lists 112 companies involved in certain activities in the settlements; including the supply of equipment and materials for construction or home demolitions; surveillance and security, transport and maintenance, pollution and dumping of waste; and use of natural resources including water and land.
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the steering group for the Palestinian-led BDS campaign; welcomed the release of the database, which came “despite bullying by [President Donald] Trump and Israel’s far-right government.”
It likewise added that “these companies must be held to account; including through strategic boycotts and divestment campaigns.”
At last, the UN released a database of companies complicit in Israel's illegal settlement enterprise, despite bullying by Trump and Israel's far-right government.
These companies must be held to account, including through strategic boycotts and divestment campaigns. pic.twitter.com/G6DhnfYKLk
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) February 12, 2020
Israel reacted to the publication of the list with rage.
Gilad Erdan, the country’s minister of strategic affairs; claimed that it “proves once again the UN’s consistent anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred.”
Unable to defend its violations of international law; Israel now routinely smears even the mildest critics as anti-Semites.
The UN database was originally supposed to be released three years ago.
Israel as well as the US have been determined to stop its publication; fearing it could provide a major boost to efforts to hold Israel accountable; and also force companies to stop helping Israel violate Palestinian rights.
Israel planned “to do everything it can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day,” Danny Danon, the country’s ambassador to the UN, said in 2017.
The database is clearly not comprehensive and is also limited only to businesses involved in activities specified by the UN Human Rights Council mandate.