The UN Human Rights Council has this afternoon voted to “to produce a database of all business enterprises” that operate in illegal Israeli settlements.
The resolution passed with 32 votes in favour and 15 abstentions.
Welcoming the news, Riya Hassan, Europe Campaigns Officer for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:
“By voting to establish this database, this resolution supports the view of the the BDS movement that companies must be held to account for their participation in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.”
“Just as at the height of the boycott of South Africa, the BDS movement is successfully persuading international companies to end their support for Israel’s crimes and we are starting to notice a domino effect.”
French multinationals Veolia and Orange and CRH, Ireland’s biggest company, have all exited the Israeli market in recent months, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.
“This is a welcome step but the UN Human Rights Council must go further to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law including by supporting a full ban on trade with illegal Israeli settlements and a two-way military embargo.”
“What use are the EU’s regular condemnations of the ongoing expansion Israel’s illegal settlements if they will not support measures aimed at stopping international businesses from supporting their expansion?”
“We urge the UN to lead by example and terminate its contracts with G4S, a private security company that provides services and equipment to Israeli occupation prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are held without trial and tortured.”
In recent months, UNICEF in Jordan and a major restaurant chain in Colombia became the latest high-profile bodies to end their contracts with G4S following BDS campaigns.
In January, the United Methodist Church put five Israeli banks from Israel on a “blacklist” due to their complicity in human rights violations, including the financing of illegal Israeli settlements.
A leading France-based Israeli businessman recently told the Israeli media that the growing strength of the BDS movement means that most major European companies now avoid investing in Israel.
According to the UN’s trade and development agency UNCTAD, Foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 46% in 2014 as compared to 2013, partially due to the impressive growth of the BDS impact, as stated by one of the report’s authors.
In January 2016, Human Rights Watch issued a report, Occupation, Inc. urging international businesses to comply with their human rights responsibility and stop operating and servicing illegal Israeli settler colonies.