UN identifies 112 firms linked to Israeli settlements
A picture shows the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev (L), built in a suburb of the mostly Arab east Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp (R) behind Israel\'s controversial separation wall. AFP
The UN has released a list of 112 companies with activities in Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, including Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor.
The report comes in response to a 2016 UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a "database for all businesses engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory". The UN rights office said the claim about the companies was "not, and does not purport to be, a judicial or quasi-judicial process".
Israeli officials fear the list could be used to boycott firms with ties to the Israeli settlements. Among the businesses on the list are a range of large international companies, including Airbnb, Alstom, Booking.com and Motorola Solutions.
"I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious," UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said. But she added that the findings had been subject to an "extensive and meticulous review process" and the report "reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate".
The report, which was scheduled to be released three years ago, has repeatedly been delayed. On Wednesday, the final report cited 112 business entities that the office had "reasonable grounds to conclude have been involved in one or more of the specific activities referenced" in the 2016 resolution.
It said 94 of the listed companies had their headquarters in Israel, while 18 others were spread across six other countries. The UN agency said compiling the database had been a "complex process" involving "widespread discussions" with states, think tanks, academics and the companies themselves. The office said it reviewed more than 300 firms as part of the process.