If business activity that “facilitates” or “profits” from settlement activity raises human rights issues, then the Commission’s current research program is unjustifiably narrow in its scope. The UNHRC’s Israel database is not merely an example of double standards—of unevenly enforcing or applying existing rules. Rather, it is an unjustified and illegitimate invention of entirely new rules that apply solely to the Jewish State.
This report, the second in a series, is designed to put the HRC’s “database” project in a global perspective. It examines business activity in support of settlement enterprises in occupied territories around the world. This study reveals that such business is ubiquitous and involves some of the world’s largest industrial, financial services, transport, and other major publicly traded companies. Such companies include Coca Cola, Air France, Priceline Group, Ford Motor Company, Airbnb, Zurich Insurance Group, Danske Bank, ENEL, and BNP Paribas SA, to take
just a few examples.
As a matter of human rights, the Council’s focus on Israel is difficult to understand. There are numerous territories around the world currently under belligerent occupation, where the occupying power has allowed or facilitated the movement of settlers into the occupied territory.
In all these cases, this is done over the vigorous objection of the occupied party and is at odds with its sovereignty or self-determination.
Among the most salient examples are Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Turkey’s of northern Cyprus. Both of these have seen massive government-backed settlement enterprises that dwarf anything in the West Bank. The majority of the population in these territories now consists of settlers, fundamentally undermining the possibility of self-determination or a political solution. There are also settlers in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the Occupied Ukrainian Territories. In all these cases, foreign companies actively support the various settlement enterprises. These activities include extracting natural resources from the territories, providing infrastructure support to the occupying power, and in general, making the settlement enterprises more economically viable.