Palestinians laud release of UN settler list

UNITED NATIONS (AA) – Pro-Palestinian activists celebrated Wednesday the long-awaited release by the UN of a list that names and shames 100 companies that operate in the occupied West Bank.

The list, compiled by the UN’s human rights apparatus in Geneva, featured mostly Israeli companies, though some are headquartered in the U.S., France, Britain, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Among the international companies were travel firms TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Booking, as well as tech producer Motorola, consumer food maker General Mills and infrastructure companies like JC Bamford Excavators and Egis Rail.

The companies engaged in activities that “raised particular human rights concerns,” according to the UN report, which was released after years of delays that have been attributed to extensive lobbying by the U.S. and Israel.

Patrick Connors, media and communications officer for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led group that calls for sanctions to target the Israeli occupation, welcomed the release of list.

“The publication of this database is a very significant first concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel’s illegal settlements, which constitute a war crime,” BDS said in a statement.

Still, Connors noted the database is “incomplete” as some firms were still escaping accountability and the UN had been subject to “bullying” by U.S. President Donald Trump and “Israel's far-right government.”

“It is now time for all public institutions, city councils, churches, trade unions, cultural organizations, investment funds, and others to stop contracting, procuring from or investing in the listed companies, to avoid complicity in Israel’s regime of military occupation and apartheid,” said the statement.