October 26, 2017
Israeli barrier running between the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat (R) and Pisgat Zeev © Ammar Awad / Reuters
The United Nations (UN) has included some of the biggest Israeli and international firms operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in a blacklist for those violating “international law and UN resolutions.”
According to Israeli Ynet News which has gained access to part of the list, 130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations received warning letters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein about their impending inclusion on the blacklist.
The list, which reportedly will be published in late December includes Israel Aerospace Industries, telecom giants, international tech firms, banks, and even cafes.
Israel Aerospace Industries, Hewlett-Packard, the Israeli branches of Motorola and HP, the Dead Sea cosmetics firm Ahava, the Cellcom and Partner telecommunications companies are among those listed.Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are also said to be on the list.
Israeli Channel 2 News has reported that among the American firms that received letters were Coca-Cola, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Caterpillar.
The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned the blacklist as “the latest in this long line of shameful actions” taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In June Haley warned the US could withdraw from the 47-member body.
It may cause large investment firms or pension funds carrying stocks of various Israeli companies to divest in them because they, in turn, operate in the settlements,” an unnamed senior Israeli official told Ynet, adding “it may lead to a snowball effect that will greatly harm the Israeli economy eventually.”
The companies say the list’s creation was politically motivated and their inclusion may cause them financial harm and tarnish their brand. They are reportedly looking into filing lawsuits against the Commissioner and the UNHRC.
In September, the UN Commissioner warned over 150 companies that their activities in the “occupied Palestinian territories” may see them added to a blacklist of companies as “they operate in opposition to international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.”
The UN Human Rights Commission voted in March for the resolution being pushed by the Palestinian Authority and Arab nations, according to which the commission would formulate a database of Israeli and international firms directly or indirectly doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The decision passed despite pressure and criticism from the US.