Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.50 13 Feb 2020


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The United Nations has identified and named 112 companies involved in activities relating to illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

These include well-known firms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

The information was released in response to a specific request by the UN Human Rights Council from March 2016.

It asked the office to produce a database of businesses involved in such activities.

In an interim report back in 2018, the UN Human Rights Office noted it had reviewed information that was publicly available, or had been received from a variety of sources, about an initial 307 companies.

After further research, it said the total number reviewed increased to 321.

Of these, a total of 206 companies were considered for further assessment.

The latest identifies 112 business entities which the UN Human Rights Office has "reasonable grounds to conclude" have been involved in one or more of the specific activities referenced in Human Rights Council resolution 31/36.

This resolution reaffirmed the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem.

Of the 112 businesses, 94 are based in Israel and 18 in six other states.

However the report said references to these business entities "is not, and does not purport to be, a judicial or quasi-judicial process."

The UN 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.

"Any further steps with respect to the continuation of this mandate will be a matter for the member states of the Human Rights Council".

The UN Human Rights Council will hold its next session on February 24th.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: "I am 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".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the report by saying: "Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted.

"The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence. Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it.

"It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us."

He added: "In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.

"Therefore, this body is unimportant. Instead of the organization dealing with human rights, it only tries to disparage Israel."

Speaking at the UN on Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: "The State of Palestine expresses its sincere gratitude to the vast majority of UN Security Council members that aligned themselves with international law and the principles of peace and justice despite unprecedented acts of threats and intimidation by the United States administration.

"Their affirmation of the founding principles of international law, particularly their unequivocal rejection of American-sanctioned Israeli annexation, unilateral illegal actions, and other grave breaches of international law reflects their unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order."

Read the full report here


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Airbnb Booking.com Expedia Illegal Israeli Settlements Israeli Settlements Michelle Bachelet Occupied Palestinian Territories Palestine Palestinian Territories TripAdvisor UN Human Rights Office United Nations

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