Occupation Inc: Contributing To and Profiting From Human Rights Abuses

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Photo by Ammar Awad/REUTERS/

In what critics of the Israeli occupation are calling a "groundbreaking" development that could signal "the next frontier of BDS," the New-York-based Human Rights Watch has issued a report that calls on corporations to end all settlement businesses, charging they “unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources.”  The study, Occupation Inc., details the ways since the outset of the Occupation that Israeli and international businesses have helped build, finance, support and profit from settlement communities, operating businesses that contribute to and benefit from multiple human rights violations against Palestinians in every aspect of life from land confiscation to labor abuses. Using case studies to show that settlement businesses are "inextricably tied" to violations of international law and human rights abuses, HRW argues that "any adequate due diligence (shows) that businesses cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these abuses so long as they engage in such activities." The “the only way for businesses to comply with their own human rights responsibilities," they charge, is to stop working with and in Israeli settlements. In a classic  pot/kettle response revealing its own blindness to the legal and moral bankruptcy of the Occupation, Israel called the report "one-sided and politicized."

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