UNHRC Resolution Requests “Database”
- The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on March 24, 2016, requesting the High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a “database” of all business enterprises involved with “the settlements.”
- The term “settlements” has been defined by the UN as “all physical and non-physical structures and processes that constitute, enable and support the establishment, expansion and maintenance of Israeli residential communities beyond the Green Line of 1949 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” This would include the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, as well as the holiest site in Judaism where Jews are able to pray, the Western Wall.
- The UN database, or blacklist, is scheduled to be presented in the form of a report to the Council at its 34th session in March 2017—and is to be “updated annually.”
- The High Commissioner was instructed by the HRC to work in close consultation with the council’s Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. This entity has itself been previously hijacked by the HRC to target Israel, a mandate it implemented in the form of major 2014 statement on the same topic.
High Commissioner’s Letter Urged UN to Begin Boycott
- As revealed by a letter sent by the High Commissioner earlier this year, the actual goal of the UN database is to wage a worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
- The High Commissioner, Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, sent a letter to UN deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson raising the issue of any potential links the world body might have with businesses directly or indirectly affected, as reported exclusively by Ynet.
- “It is reasonable to assume that the UN has ties with businesses which are expected to be included on the list, and therefore the UN must stop these illegitimate links,” al-Hussein wrote to the UN deputy secretary-general.
- He urged the issue to be highlighted as soon as possible and be brought to the attention of the UN Procurement Division which manages regular contacts with Israeli companies, reported Ynet. As it happens, the volume of UN procurement from Israel has reportedly doubled twice in the last two years.
- High Commissioner al-Hussein also pointed out, according to Ynet, that according to previous declarations by the secretary-general and UN reports, the world body is obligated to act in accordance with the resolutions taken by the Human Rights Council.
- In the letter to Eliasson, said Ynet, Al-Hussein added a description of how the council is currently engaged in institutionalizing an orderly working method for formulating annual lists, in cooperation with other countries, and “bodies and stakeholders.”
- Officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, reported Ynet, have said that that the implementation of the resolution could result in an economic disaster for the State of Israel since Israeli businesses operating outside Israel will be threatened with consumer boycotts. Furthermore, international corporations operating in Israel will be forced to choose between having their products labelled by the UN or activity in large parts of Israel.
Human Rights Watch Bolsters Palestinian BDS Campaign
- The large and influential activist group Human Rights Watch, headed by Ken Roth and funded by $100 million from George Soros, has made key efforts to bolster the Palestinians’ BDS campaign.
- On November 16, 2016, during the annual UN forum on business and human rights, HRW led a panel event with five speakers, chaired by Sarah Saadoun, HRW’s “Business and Human Rights” expert, and author of HRW’s report “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israeli Violations of Palestinian Rights.”
- On November 21st, HRW’s Sari Bashi, HRW’s Israel/Palestine Advocacy Director, sent the UN a written submission “to assist the Office of the High Commissioner in implementing” the resolution calling for the database to be prepared.
- HRW’s submission outlined business activities they believe meet the criteria in the UN resolution; described the kind of institutions that should be blacklisted; and specifically called for blacklisting three of these: a German cement company, an international real estate agency, and. All are institutions, said HRW, “whose settlement business activities we have researched thoroughly and have verified that they operated in settlements.”
- As a human rights group, HRW should feel uncomfortable advancing a resolution whose sponsors include genocidal Sudan, and human rights abusers such as Algeria, Cuba, Libya, Pakistan and Venezuela.