The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a preliminary report on Wednesday, January 31, identifying 206 companies around the world doing business in the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, settlements located there in violation of international law.
The long-delayed report was initially supposed to include the names of the companies involved but, reportedly after intense pressure from the US and Israel, it only gives the number of companies from each of 21 countries, without specifying the companies by name.
“Businesses play a central role in furthering the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements,” the UN report said. “In doing so, they are contributing to Israel’s confiscation of land, facilitating the transfer of its population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory and are involved in the exploitation of Palestine’s natural resources.”
The report noted that the majority of the countries on the list, 143, are based inside Israel and the settlements themselves, while the second largest group, numbering 22 companies, are US-based. The remaining 41 companies are based in 19 other countries: Germany (7), The Netherlands (5), France (4), The Republic of Korea (3), Italy (3), The United Kingdom (3), Canada (2), Japan (2), Switzerland (2), and 1 each for Ireland, Mexico, Denmark, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Turkey, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, and South Africa. The UN report is, once again, preliminary and the data appearing in it is not yet complete and final.
Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, who himself lives in an illegal settlement, strongly condemned the report, calling it shameful and a “disgraceful blacklist.”