Pompeo: US rejects UN database of Israeli settlement companies

Pompeo: US rejects UN database of Israeli settlement companies

Pompeo: US rejects UN database of Israeli settlement companies

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman, who sit on the Finance Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, called it an "anti-Israel database, akin to a blacklist, of companies" that made major US companies, including General Mills and Airbnb vulnerable to boycotts.

The move was cheered by the Palestinians but slammed as "shameful" by Israel, where officials fear the list could be used to boycott firms with ties to the settlements.

The database, released Wednesday after years of delays, listed 112 companies that the United Nations human rights office said are complicit in rights violations by bolstering Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Israel denounced the list and accused the United Nations rights office of collaborating with the boycott movement in compiling the names.

They include Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and Motorola Solutions.

"I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious", said Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Israel, which routinely accuses the United Nations and especially the Human Rights Council of bias against it was quick to slam Wednesday's publication.

"Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted", Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Twitter.

"We urge those principled Human Rights Council member states to reject this blacklist, which evokes echoes of Nazi-triggered boycotts and blacklists against Jews, when they convene later this month", he added.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the UN's publication of the blacklist a "shameful surrender" to Israel's enemies in the worldwide body.

The Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said: "The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for global law".

In a statement, Pompeo said the list supports a Palestinian-led boycott movement and "delegitimizes" Israel.

The database was scheduled to be released three years ago, but has repeatedly been delayed.

"These companies have done nothing wrong and many are involved in providing goods and services to Palestinians pursuant to the Oslo Accords".

It said 94 of the listed companies had their headquarters in Israel, while 18 others were spread across six other countries.

Human Rights Watch said the list "should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes".

The process of creating the database was quite lengthy - the idea of it was initially floated back in 2017, when the inclusion of over 200 companies was hinted at, though the finished document lists a little over half this number.

Wednesday's report meanwhile stressed that companies were not doomed to remain on the database forever.

Following what it said was a thorough review and assessment of all information available, the OHCHR presented a report on Wednesday identifying 112 business entities that it said, there were reasonable grounds to conclude, had been involved in one or more of those activities.

Human rights groups also broadly welcomed the report.

The U.N. report does not accuse the companies of violating worldwide law, but it does come amid the global nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that calls for the boycott of companies linked to illegal settlements.

The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war - for an independent state and the removal of numerous more than 700,000 Israeli settlers from these parts.

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