UN publishes list of companies with ties to Israeli settlements

Posted on Feb 13, 2020

Image: The Guardian Logo

Palestinian officials welcome report, while Israel condemns it as ‘shameful blacklist’

Image: A view of the ongoing constructions in the Jewish settlement of Modi’in Illit, west of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty

A view of the ongoing constructions in the Jewish settlement of Modi’in Illit, west of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty

The UN has published a list of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the US-based TripAdvisor and Airbnb and the British truck and digger maker JCB.

Most of the 112 companies linked to settlements, which are regarded as illegal under international law, were Israeli. The list included 18 international firms, including the London-based online travel agency Opodo and the Netherlands-based Booking.com.

The UN statement made clear the report was not part of a judicial process and the database will have no immediate legal implications for the companies. However, an official list published by a UN agency could lend energy to pro-Palestinian efforts to pressure governments and consumers to take action such as boycotts against businesses linked to the occupation.

“I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” said Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, who was tasked with producing the database. “However, after an extensive and meticulous review process, we are satisfied this fact-based report reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate.”

Palestinian officials immediately welcomed the publication. Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian mission to the UK, said on Twitter: “A good day for peace & the international rules based order. And a timely message for those who push us towards chaos & lawlessness.”

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Malki, lauded the report as a “victory for international law and diplomatic efforts”.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a pro-Palestinian group leading calls for the use of boycotts to pressure Israel, said the database was “a very significant first concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations”.

Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli president, warned against threats of boycotts. “We call on our friends around the world to speak out against this shameful initiative.”

The UN list included a vast array of prominent Israeli companies in major sectors – from food to transport and communications – that work both in the occupied West Bank but also represent a large part of the country’s economy.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, denounced it as “a ‘blacklist’ of businesses” which he considered a “shameful capitulation to pressure from countries and organisations that are interested in hurting Israel”.

The country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to a local radio station, said he would “fight this with all our strength”.

His domestic rival, Benny Gantz, head of the main Israeli opposition party, Blue and White, also rebuked the report. “This is a dark day for human rights. The Office of the high commissioner for human rights has lost touch with reality,” he said in a statement.

The UN’s human rights council, a body composed of 47 states elected every three years, adopted a resolution in 2016 asking the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights to produce the report.

Travel companies, in particular, had been accused of financially benefiting from the Israeli occupation, by listing rooms in settler-owned houses and guesthouses in the Palestinian territories. In 2018, Airbnb said it would remove from its website all properties in Israeli settlements. But following an uproar in Israel, the firm reversed its decision a few months later.

JCB has long been criticised by rights activists as the Israeli military has been photographed using it bulldozers in the West Bank, where it regularly demolishes Palestinian homes and buildings.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordanian forces in 1967 and continues to control and occupy the area, while Palestinians living there have limited self-rule over small enclaves. Palestinians and most of the world view the settlements as illegal under international law.

Israel disagrees and in November, in a dramatic break with longstanding US foreign policy, the Trump administrated sided with its ally, saying it no longer necessarily considered the settlements illegal.

The Guardian has contacted JCB, Opodo, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Booking.com for comment.


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Below are the companies:
1. Afikim Public Transportation Ltd., Israel
2. Airbnb Inc., United States
3. American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd., Israel
4. Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd., Israel
5. Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd., Israel
6. Angel Bakeries, Israel
7. Archivists Ltd., Israel
8. Ariel Properties Group, Israel
9. Ashtrom Industries Ltd., Israel
10. Ashtrom Properties Ltd., Israel
11. Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd., Israel
12. Bank Hapoalim B.M., Israel
13. Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M., Israel
14. Bank of Jerusalem Ltd., Israel
15. Beit Haarchiv Ltd., Israel
16. Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication Corp Ltd., Israel
17. Booking.com B.V., Netherlands
18. C Mer Industries Ltd., Israel
19. Café Café Israel Ltd., Israel
20. Caliber 3, Israel
21. Cellcom Israel Ltd., Israel
22. Cherriessa Ltd., Israel
23. Chish Nofei Israel Ltd., Israel
24. Citadis Israel Ltd., Israel
25. Comasco Ltd., Israel
26. Darban Investments Ltd., Israel
27. Delek Group Ltd., Israel
28. Delta Israel, Israel
29. Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd., Israel
30. Egis Rail, France
31. Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd., Israel
32. Energix Renewable Energies Ltd., Israel
33. EPR Systems Ltd., Israel
34. Extal Ltd., Israel
35. Expedia Group Inc., United States
36. Field Produce Ltd., Israel
37. Field Produce Marketing Ltd., Israel
38. First International Bank of Israel Ltd., Israel
39. Galshan Shvakim Ltd., Israel
40. General Mills Israel Ltd., Israel
41. Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd., Israel
42. Hot Mobile Ltd., Israel
43. Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd., Israel
44. Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd., Israel
45. Israel Discount Bank Ltd., Israel
46. Israel Railways Corporation Ltd., Israel
47. Italek Ltd., Israel
48. JC Bamford Excavators Ltd., United Kingdom
49. Jerusalem Economy Ltd., Israel
50. Kavim Public Transportation Ltd., Israel
51. Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd., Israel
52. Matrix IT Ltd., Israel
53. Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd., Israel
54. Mekorot Water Company Ltd., Israel
55. Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd., Israel
56. Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd., Israel
57. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd., Israel
58. Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd., Israel
59. Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd., Israel
60. Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd., Israel
61. Municipal Bank Ltd., Israel
62. Naaman Group Ltd., Israel
63. Nof Yam Security Ltd., Israel
64. Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd., Israel
65. Opodo Ltd., United Kingdom
66. Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd., Israel
67. Partner Communications Company Ltd., Israel
68. Paz Oil Company Ltd., Israel
69. Pelegas Ltd., Israel
70. Pelephone Communications Ltd., Israel
71. Proffimat S.R. Ltd., Israel
72. Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd., Israel
73. Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd., Israel
74. Re/Max Israel, Israel
75. Shalgal Food Ltd., Israel
76. Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd., Israel
77. Shufersal Ltd., Israel
78. Sonol Israel Ltd., Israel
79. Superbus Ltd., Israel
80. Supergum Industries 1969 Ltd., Israel
81. Tahal Group International B.V., Netherlands
82. TripAdvisor Inc., United States
83. Twitoplast Ltd., Israel
84. Unikowsky Maoz Ltd., Israel
85. YES, Israel
86. Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd., Israel
87. ZF Development and Construction, Israel
88. ZMH Hammermand Ltd., Israel
89. Zorganika Ltd., Israel
90. Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd., Israel
91. Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd., Israel
92. Alstom S.A., France
93. Altice Europe N.V., Netherlands
94. Amnon Mesilot Ltd., Israel
95. Ashtrom Group Ltd., Israel
96. Booking Holdings Inc., United States
97. Brand Industries Ltd., Israel
98. Delta Galil Industries Ltd., Israel
99. eDreams ODIGEO S.A., Luxembourg
100. Egis S.A., France
101. Electra Ltd., Israel
102. Export Investment Company Ltd., Israel
103. General Mills Inc., United States
104. Hadar Group, Israel
105. Hamat Group Ltd., Israel
106. Indorama Ventures P.C.L., Thailand
107. Kardan N.V., Netherlands
108. Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd., Israel
109. Motorola Solutions Inc., United States
110. Natoon Group, Israel
111. Villar International Ltd., Israel
112. Greenkote P.L.C., United Kingdom