UN Expert: Boycott Companies Profiting from Israeli Settlements

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Common Dreams

UN Expert: Boycott Companies Profiting from Israeli Settlements

Richard Falk tells UN General Assembly that businesses that profit from the Israeli settlement enterprise violate human rights standards

by
Common Dreams staff

“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Falk stated. (UN Photo/Jess Hoffman)

Richard Falk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, has called for a boycott of businesses profiting from the Israeli occupation Thursday.

Falk made the comments in his annual report to the U.N. General Assembly citing Caterpillar Incorporated of the United States, Veolia Environment of France, G4S of the United Kingdom, the Dexia Group of Belgium, Ahava of Israel, the Volvo Group of Sweden, the Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands, Elbit Systems of Israel, Hewlett Packard of the USA, Mehadrin of Israel, Motorola of the USA, Assa Abloy of Sweden, and Cemex of Mexico as examples of companies acting in violation of the U.N. Global Compact by being complicit in human rights abuses through their involvement in Israeli settlements.

“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Falk stated in a release.

“All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established in clear violation of international law,” he said.

“Yet today Israeli settlements control over 40 percent of the West Bank and between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli citizens are living in Palestinian territory,” he added. “In the last 12 months alone, the settler population has increased by over 15,000 persons.”

"There is hardly any responsible deviation from the view that settlements are unlawful under international law," he told the Assembly.

Falk's comments come on the heels of remarks from former President Jimmy Carter, who, on a recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, slammed Israel's continued growth of West Bank settlement. 

The U.S. criticized Falk and his statements, while Canada and Israel called for Falk's resignation from the Human Rights Council-appointed post.  

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said in a statement that Falk's call for a boycott is "irresponsible and unacceptable" and called his continued role as a U.N. Special Rapporteur "deeply regrettable."

Karaen Peretz, spokeswoman for the Israeli U.N. Mission, said: "While he spends pages and pages attacking Israel, Falk fails to mention even once the horrific human rights violations and ongoing terrorist attacks by Hamas," Associated Press reports. 

Falk said that "his mandate was limited to violations committed by Israel and that his request to broaden that mandate to include violations by Palestinians had been rejected by the Human Rights Council," the U.N. notes.

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