Reaction: UN Human Rights Office releases report on companies complicit in Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

12 February 2020 - 6:00pm
Press release

Responding to the release of the UN Human Rights Office report detailing companies complicit in Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ryvka Barnard, War on Want Senior Campaigns Officer – Militarism and Security, said:

"Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people depends on complicity from governments and corporations around the world. The UN’s investigation, started in 2016, has listed 112 companies, three of which are UK-based: JCB, Opodo and Greenkote. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with hundreds more companies involved in this chain of complicity.

JCB equipment is used by Israeli armed forces to demolish Palestinian homes. Opodo gives a commercial platform to Israeli settlement tourism businesses. Greenkote lists the Israeli military as one of its clients, and has a facility in an Israeli settlement.

These companies are guilty of knowingly doing business with Israeli settlements, which are a war crime under international law.

With the release of this latest overwhelming evidence, it’s time for the UK government to act. Government statements condemning Israel’s settlements are meaningless unless accompanied by action. The UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights outlines clear expectations for UK businesses to protect human rights. This government policy is almost never enforced.

Palestinian civil society groups have called for people of conscience around the world to hold corporations involved in war crimes to account using boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns.  Such campaigns were a part of the movement to topple apartheid in South Africa, and they are important now to help bring justice to Palestinians.

The UK government has threatened to pass a law prohibiting public bodies from using boycott or divestment campaigns to hold human rights abusing companies to account. The UK government should enforce its own policies to prevent companies from taking part in war crimes, rather than trying to criminalise those calling out corporate abuse.”

Press Contact

Holly Blaxill, Head of Communications and Engagement: hblaxill@waronwant.org | 020 7324 5060

Notes to Editors

 

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