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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

UN again defers blacklist report on illegal companies operating in Israeli settlements

The list was set to expose American and Israeli firms to legal action for their illegal presence in Palestinian territory

A new housing project in the occupied West Bank settlement of Naale. AP
A new housing project in the occupied West Bank settlement of Naale. AP

The United Nations has once again delayed the publication of a database of companies that operate illegally in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The decision by High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, followed a campaign by the United States and other countries to squelch publication of what Israel has described as a "blacklist" that could drive away companies.

The UN-backed Human Rights Council in 2016 instructed the office Ms Bachelet now oversees to create a "database" of companies deemed to be linked to or supportive of the settlements, which are considered illegal by the vast majority of the international community.

A letter from Ms Bachelet to the president of the office said that “further consideration” was needed because of the “complexity” and “novelty” of creating such a corporate blacklist, the first in the council’s history.

Both Israel and the United States feared the publication of such a list because it could have left top American and Israeli companies operating in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem liable to legal action.

Some of the companies that could have been implicated in the blacklist include pharmaceutical company Teva, transportation company Egged, and defence firm Elbit. International firms such as Coca-Cola could also have been included in the list.

A UN report published in 2018 said that more than 200 companies, both Israeli and international, are doing business in Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The list’s publication has already been delayed two times, once in 2017 and once in 2018.

Updated: March 6, 2019 05:18 PM

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