UN releases database of companies operating in illegal West Bank settlements

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 lis t 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 […]

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