Profiting from loss: how business in illegal Israeli settlements continues unchecked

A man pushes a shopping cart outside Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)
A man pushes a shopping cart outside Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
UN efforts to protect Palestinian land from economic exploitation are failing, and exposing the hypocrisy of western states.

By Jonathan Cook  | Information Clearing House | Feb 18, 2020

The UN has even taken an extremely narrow view of what constitutes involvement with the settlements.

After lengthy delays, the United Nations finally published a database last week of businesses that have been profiting from Israel’s illegal annexation and settlement activity in the West Bank.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced that 112 major companies had been identified as operating in Israeli settlements in ways that violate human rights.

Aside from major Israeli banks, transport services, cafes, supermarkets, and energy, building and telecoms firms, prominent international businesses include Airbnb, booking.com, Motorola, Trip Advisor, JCB, Expedia and General Mills.

Human Rights Watch, a global watchdog, noted in response to the list’s publication that the settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. It argued that the firms’ activities mean they have aided “in the commission of war crimes”.

The companies’ presence in the settlements has helped to blur the distinction between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. That in turn has normalized the erosion of international law and subverted a long-held international consensus on establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Work on compiling the database began four years ago. But both Israel and the United States put strong pressure on the UN in the hope of preventing the list from ever seeing the light of day.

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