Israelis urge UN to release “settlement blacklist”

Construction workers begin work on the new settlement called Amichai, in Shilo Valley, West Bank, on Jun 20, 2017. (photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

A group of prominent Israelis petition the UN to maintain the Green Line no matter how hard the Netanyahu government works to erase it.

By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man | +972 Magazine | Dec 3, 2017

“As loyal citizens of Israel, [we] believe that the international community has a crucial and urgent role to play in order to redress the Israel/Palestine fast deteriorating conflict. We believe that to serve that end, it is essential that the international community act against the settlement policy of the Government of Israel, which bars any resolution of this conflict.”

Over 400 Israelis, including a former attorney general, retired diplomats, ex-members of Knesset, and prominent intellectuals, sent a petition to the UN urging it to release a list of companies that do business in or with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel is reportedly doing “everything [it] can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.” The UN Human Rights Council began compiling the list of companies last year and it was due to be published in March 2017, although political pressure at the time resulted in the publication date being delayed until December.

The database, or list of companies, has been referred to as a blacklist, and was one of the primary motivators behind the anti-BDS legislation currently making its way through the U.S. Congress.

The petition, authored by the Policy Working Group, points to the UN Security Council Resolution 2332, which called on the international community “to distinguish in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

All settlements are illegal under international law, a position that was reiterated by the UN Security Council in its resolution on the matter in late 2016.

Among the signatories are former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair, former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Alon Liel, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch, former IDF chief education officer Mordechai Bar-On, at least eight recipients of the Israel Prize, and hundreds of other prominent Israelis.

The rationale behind pursuing an international policy of calling out companies that are engaged in business with Israeli settlements, explained Policy Working Group chairman Ambassador Ilan, is that “such business relations enhance the environment which sustains human rights violations and stand in contrast with the interest of peace in the Middle East.”

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