February 14, 2020

What It Is:

  • The report released by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on February 12, 2020 contains a database of 112 business enterprises involved in certain “specified activities” (defined below) related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
  • In March 2016, the UNHRC passed a resolution requesting production of a database of all business enterprises involved in certain specified activities related to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to be updated annually, and transmitted in the form of a report to the Council.

 What It Is Not:

  • The UNHRC, the 2016 resolution and the report releasing this database do not call for a boycott of the companies in the database (i.e. it is not a “blacklist”).
  • The UNHRC’s report does not provide a legal characterization of the economic activities in which these companies are engaged.
  • The database is not a comprehensive list of all businesses operating in the occupied territories or in Israel proper. That is a far larger number, and the overwhelming majority of Israeli companies are not included in the database. The database contains only a limited list of companies that are involved in particular activities across the Green Line.

Additional Information on the Database:

  • The UNHRC listed 10 specific activities in which businesses have to be engaged in order to be listed in the report.  These include: (1) supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, and for the destruction of farms and crops; (2) banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain settlements; (3) supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and expansion of settlements and Israel’s separation barrier; and (4) pollution and the dumping of waste in Palestinian villages — in other words, activities that are substantially related to supporting and furthering settlements or their negative impact on the Palestinian population.
  • The database identifies 112 businesses which are involved in one or more of these specified activities. Ninety-four of the companies are Israeli and 6 are American. The remainder are based in the Netherlands, France, the UK, Luxembourg, and Thailand. The database specifies in which of the 10 specified activities the business named is involved.
  • The request to produce the database followed an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the impact of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
  • All 188 businesses initially identified were contacted by the UNHRC and given the opportunity to respond. Subsequently, the UNHRC determined that 76 of those companies are not involved in the specified activities. They are not included in the database.
  • In line with international law and numerous UN Security Council resolutions supported by the United States, the database differentiates between Israel and the settlements, which are nearly universally regarded as illegal under international law.
  • In emphasizing the significance of the Green Line and the international legal principle of differentiation between Israel and the settlements in occupied territory, the database holds open the prospect for a real two-state solution.

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