The focus on business activities is partly an expression of frustration about…the ineffectiveness of the UN efforts to condemn settlement expansion.”
Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, demanded the ban in a report he submitted to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Falk said in a news release, issued as he presented the report titled, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories since 1967.”
Falk’s report singled out Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola of the United States, Veolia Environment of France, G4S of Britain, Dexia of Belgium, Volvo Group and Assa Abloy of Sweden, Ahava, Elbit Systems and Mehadrin of Israel, Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands, and Cemex of Mexico.
Caterpillar, for example, has supplied the Israeli regime with “equipment, such as bulldozers and construction apparatus,” which are “used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, schools, orchards, olive groves, and crops,” the report said.
The UN investigator pointed out that the firms form just a small portion of the businesses operating in or assisting the expansion of the settlements in clear violation of “international law and standards concerning businesses and human rights, including the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.”
“The focus on business activities is partly an expression of frustration about…the ineffectiveness of the UN efforts to condemn settlement expansion,” Falk noted.
“The effort to reach out beyond the traditional way that the UN condemns things is an effort to take our role seriously enough to feel that we should try to use what influence we have to change behavior,” he added.
Falk, an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a Jew himself, also called on the international community to pursue legal and political action against the companies, “especially where allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity can be substantiated in relation to settlement activities.”
The United States and Israel censured the boycott call. On Thursday, the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice said the boycott “poison the environment for peace.”
Israel also called the report “grossly biased” and demanded that Falk be replaced.
About half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The UN and the European Union consider the settlements built on either territory illegal under the international law due to their construction on occupied territory.
In his address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, Acting Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel’s “catastrophic” settlement expansion as part of Tel Aviv’s ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians and its attempt to change the historic demography of the region.