24th January 2014 | European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine | Brussels, Belgium
The UN report is the result of a mission investigating Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Information gathered by the mission shows that private firms have enabled, facilitated and profited, directly and indirectly, from the construction and growth of the settlements. It identified a number of business activities that raise particular concerns about abuses of human rights. They include:
• The supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction of settlements and Israel’s wall in the West Bank;
•The supply of surveillance and identification equipment for settlements, the wall and military checkpoints;
• The supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, including the destruction of farms, greenhouses, olives groves and crops,;
• The supply of security services, equipment and materials to businesses operating in settlements;
• The provision of transport and other services to support the maintenance of settlements;
• Banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain settlements and their activities, including loans for housing and business development;
• The use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes;
• Pollution, dumping and transfer of waste to Palestinian villages;
• The way Palestinian financial and economic markets are held captive by Israel, as well as practices that disadvantage Palestinian businesses, including through restrictions on movement, and administrative and legal constraints.
According to the report, companies active in the settlements are fully aware that they are abusing international law and contributing to violations of human rights.
It also states that Israel labels all its export products as originating from Israel, including those wholly or partially produced in settlements. Some companies operating in settlements have been accused of hiding the original place of production of their products.
The mission also notes that some businesses have pulled out of settlements because it harms their image and might entail legal consequences.
The mission urges private companies to cease operating in the settlements and calls upon all Member States to comply with their obligations under international law and to assume their responsibilities in their relationship to a State breaching peremptory norms of international law – specifically not to recognise an unlawful situation resulting from Israel’s violations.
The report also notes that private companies must assess the human rights impact of their activities and take all necessary steps – including by terminating their business interests in the settlements – to ensure they are not adversely impacting the human rights of the Palestinian People. The Mission calls upon all Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure that business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, that conduct activities in or related to the settlements respect human rights throughout their operations.
You can read the full report here