FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Palestine Solidarity Campaign responds to release of UN settlement database
- On Wednesday the UN published its long-awaited list of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements
- Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has called on the UK Government to take action against the 3 UK-based companies included on the list, as well as calling directly upon the companies to exercise their responsibilities under international law and end their illegal activities
- Campaigners welcome the report but say it only “scratches the surface” of UK complicity in Israeli violations of international law
On Wednesday 12 February the UN finally published its list of over 100 companies found to be operating in illegal Israeli settlements.
The list, long-awaited by campaigners for Palestinian rights, includes 3 UK-based companies – JCB, Opodo and Greenkote PLC. Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on the UK Government to uphold international law and immediately take action against these companies.
The report comes despite years of sustained pressure from Israel, the US and other allies to not release it. Its publication has been welcomed by Palestinians and organisations that campaign for Palestinian rights as an important step in holding companies to account for their role in Israel’s illegal settlement activity.
However, Palestine Solidarity Campaign has stressed the importance of noting that this is not an exhaustive list of companies complicit in activities supporting Israel’s illegal settlement activity, and that there are many more companies not included on the list who remain deeply complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation. For example the company Caterpillar, which supplies weaponised bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes, is not included.
PSC has also asserted that any UK company or institution which invests in companies operating in illegal settlements must also be held to account for their role in violations of international law, such as banking giant HSBC which invests over £100 million in Caterpillar. HSBC is also complicit in supporting wider violations of international law including the commission of war crimes in Gaza through its investments in companies supplying arms and military technology to Israel which are used to kill Palestinian civilians.
PSC’s research has also found that 10 UK universities invest in or partner with companies included on the UN list. For example, University of Manchester invests over £3 million in travel giant Booking.com.
In November PSC published an online database listing the investments of every single UK university in companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law. The research found that the sector as a whole invested an estimated £450 million in complicit companies, and following the UN report this figure will only increase.
Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Every settlement is a war crime under international law. The UK Government, which claims to uphold an international rules-based order, must take immediate action against any UK company found to be complicit in such illegal activity. The reality is that the UN list, whilst a welcome step, only scratches the surface of the full scale of UK complicity not just in settlement activity but in the wider oppression of the Palestinian people. There are hundreds of UK companies, public bodies and institutions which resource or invest in Israel’s war crimes, and we will continue to call for full accountability and an end to all forms of UK complicity in Palestinian oppression.”
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Notes to editors:
- UN releases database: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51477231
- Pressure on UN causes delays of report: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/09/un-database-of-companies-operating-in-israeli-settlements-could-help-prevent-human-rights-abuses/
- Information on Caterpillar and HSBC’s complicity: https://waronwant.org/sites/default/files/Final%20Web%20version%20Deadly%20Investments.pdf
- UN says killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza may constitute war crimes: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/28/gaza-israel-un-inquiry-killings-protest-war-crimes-army
- PSC’s university complicity database: https://www.palestinecampaign.org/university-complicity-database/