ACHRS praises the United Nations for making a list of businesses that are tied to Israeli settlements. The list is composed of 112 companies that are responsible for doing business in occupied Palestinian territory. Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law, and therefore companies that are doing business in these settlements are breaking international law and violating the human rights of the Palestinian people. ACHRS stands in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which puts pressure on Israel economically to stop the construction, expansion, and maintenance of illegal settlements.
Israeli officials have spoken out against this list claiming that it is an anti-Semitic attack on Israel by the global community. However, the United Nations is not attempting to attack Israel, but rather shed light on human rights concerns the Palestinian people are facing as Israel continues to violate international law and U.N. agreements. Israeli settlements demolish Palestinian housing and property and take away land that rightly belongs to the Palestinian people. Israel’s actions are leading to the violent displacement of the Palestinian people who have faced severe persecution since Israel’s founding. Palestinian refugees have been forcefully displaced across the world, many of whom desire to return to their homeland one day.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the U.N Human Rights Council as a biased organization with the intention to hurt Israel and its people. Israel and the United States government stand in solidarity against the U.N. Human Rights Council’s stance on Israeli settlements, believing it is an anti-Semitic council with the intention to delegitimize Israel. The United States withdrew from the council in June of 2018, believing that the council operates based on political motivation rather than upholding human rights principals. However, it is evident that Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people, especially in regard to building illegal settlements, is a clear violation of international human rights law and the human rights council is not operating based on political motivation.
It is inevitable that the U.N.’s list will harm Israel’s relationship with the high commissioner’s office. Yet many States and human rights organizations all over the world believe this list to be a necessary means of shedding light on companies that are doing illegal business and violating the rights of the Palestinian people. The human rights council is hoping that such a list will deter more companies from operating outside the realm of international law by doing business in occupied Palestine. The Palestinian Liberation Organizations believes this list is a long-awaited way that the Palestinian people will achieve justice for the inhumane actions that have been taken against them at the hands of Israel. Palestinian leadership also believe that this list is a first step to restore international law as a means of guarding the rights of the Palestinian people. The list was the first concrete step the U.N. has taken in regard to holding the Israeli government accountable for its human rights abuses.
This list came at a convenient time with the recent release of the Trump administration’s brutal peace plan for the Middle East, which will severely harm the Palestinian people. The plan will allow Israel to take 30 percent of the West Bank and build settlements for its people. ACHRS condemns this plan knowing that it will lead to the forceful displacement and abuse of Palestinians. ACHRS stands in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people as they fight to gain their independence and the human rights they deserve, and the Center welcomes this list as a way of bringing the Israeli government to justice for its violations of international law.