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 list 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 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.”
In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 31/36, requesting the OHCHR to produce a report investigating the “implications of settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
Due to heavy Israeli and US pressure, the publication of the report was delayed for years, to the disdain of human rights groups around the world.
The release of the report on Wednesday was swiftly criticized by Israel and its supporters. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called it a “stain” on the OHCHR, and threatened action against the council by Israel.
“The State of Israel will not tolerate this discriminatory anti-Israel policy, and will take action to prevent the implementation of these kinds of decisions,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the council a “biased and uninfluential body” in a statement. “Instead of dealing with human rights this body is trying to blacken Israel’s name. We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust,” he said.
Palestinians and their supporters hailed the release of the report, with the Palestinian Prime Minsiter Mohammed Shtayyeh saying the Palesitnian government will “pursue the companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and through the courts in their countries for their role in violating human rights.”
PA Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Riyad Malki called the publication of the list a “victory for international law and diplomatic effort in order to dry up the resources of the colonial system represented in the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement released a statement praising the release of the list as a “first significant and concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian rights.
BDS did call out a number of companies and banks that were left off the list, like Hewlett Packard companies, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Volvo, Heidelberg Cement, and Cemex, as being “irrefutably implicated in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
“It is high time for all public institutions, city councils, churches, trade unions, cultural organizations, universities, investment funds, and others to stop contracting, procuring from or investing in any of the companies on the UN list of shame, to avoid complicity in Israel’s settlement enterprise,” the group said.
List of companies operating in illegal settlements in the West Bank:
Afikim Public Transportation Ltd.
American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd.
Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd.
Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd.
Ariel Properties Group
Ashtrom Industries Ltd.
Ashtrom Properties Ltd.
Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd.
Bank Hapoalim B.M.
Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M.
Bank of Jerusalem Ltd.
Beit Haarchiv Ltd.
Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication
C Mer Industries Ltd.
Café Café Israel Ltd.
Cellcom Israel Ltd.
Chish Nofei Israel Ltd.
Citadis Israel Ltd.
Darban Investments Ltd.
Delek Group Ltd.
Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd.
Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd.
Energix Renewable Energies Ltd.
EPR Systems Ltd.
Expedia Group Inc.
Field Produce Ltd.
Field Produce Marketing Ltd.
First International Bank of Israel Ltd.
Galshan Shvakim Ltd.
General Mills Israel Ltd.
Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.
Hot Mobile Ltd.
Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd.
Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd.
Israel Discount Bank Ltd.
Israel Railways Corporation Ltd.
JC Bamford Excavators Ltd.
Jerusalem Economy Ltd.
Kavim Public Transportation Ltd.
Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd.
Matrix IT Ltd.
Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd.
Mekorot Water Company Ltd.
Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd.
Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd.
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.
Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd.
Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd.
Municipal Bank Ltd.
Naaman Group Ltd.
Nof Yam Security Ltd.
Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd.
Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd.
Partner Communications Company Ltd.
Paz Oil Company Ltd.
Pelephone Communications Ltd.
Proffimat S.R. Ltd.
Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd.
Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd.
Shalgal Food Ltd.
Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd.
Sonol Israel Ltd.
Tahal Group International B.V.
Unikowsky Maoz Ltd.
Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd.
ZF Development and Construction
ZMH Hammermand Ltd.
Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd.
Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd.
Altice Europe N.V.
Amnon Mesilot Ltd.
Ashtrom Group Ltd.
Booking Holdings Inc.
Brand Industries Ltd.
Delta Galil Industries Ltd.
eDreams ODIGEO S.A.
Export Investment Company Ltd.
General Mills Inc.
Hamat Group Ltd.
Indorama Ventures P.C.L.
Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd.
Motorola Solutions Inc.
Villar International Ltd.
Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.