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UN publishes first ever list of 112 companies active in Israeli settlements Open in fullscreen

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UN publishes first ever list of 112 companies active in Israeli settlements

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law. [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2020

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The UN has released a list of companies with activities in Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, including Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

The UN human rights office on Wednesday released a list of more than 100 companies it says are operating in Israeli settlements in a first ever attempt to name and shame businesses complicit in the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In its report, which was released after repeated delays, the office said the companies' activities "raised particular human rights concerns".

The list is dominated by Israeli companies, including banks and construction firms.

But it also lists a number of international firms, including travel companies Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor, tech giant Motorola, consumer food maker General Mills and construction and infrastructure companies including France's Egis Rail and British company JC Bamford Excavators.

Despite US objections, the council in 2016 instructed the UN's human rights office to create a "database" of companies deemed to be linked to or supportive of the settlements, which are considered illegal by the vast majority of the international community.

Palestinian officials applauded the release of the report, calling it a "victory for international law".

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"Publishing this list of companies and entities operating in the settlements is a victory for international law and diplomatic efforts," foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in a statement, responding to the UN rights office list.

Israel, meanwhile, called the list a "shameful surrender" to countries and organisations that want to hurt Israel.

Israel has in the past condemned what it called the looming UN "blacklist".

It claims the settlements are built in disputed territory and says their status should be finalised in negotiations.

All Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are deemed illegal under international law.

In recent weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex Israel's more than 100 settlements in the West Bank, but under American pressure, he has put the plan on hold until after 2 March elections.

The rights council, which is made up of 47 governments, had never before requested such a list scrutinising corporate activities.

The release of the report - a politically fraught document that could cast a shadow over firms doing business in Palestinian areas - has been repeatedly delayed.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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