Top US diplomat outraged by release of UN settler list

Top US diplomat outraged by release of UN settler list

WASHINGTON-Anadolu Agency
Top US diplomat outraged by release of UN settler list

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed outrage for the release of a UN list that names and shames more than 100 companies that operate in the occupied West Bank.

"I am outraged that High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet published a database of companies operating in Israeli-controlled territories," said Pompeo on Feb. 13.

"Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations."

The list was compiled by the UN's human rights apparatus in Geneva and features mostly Israeli companies, though some are headquartered in the U.S., France, Britain, the Netherlands and Thailand.

UN report names 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements
UN report names 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements

Among the international companies were travel firms TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Booking, as well as tech producer Motorola, consumer food maker General Mills and infrastructure companies like JC Bamford Excavators and Egis Rail.

The companies engaged in activities that “raised particular human rights concerns,” according to the UN report released Wednesday, which was released after years of delays attributed to extensive lobbying by the U.S. and Israel.

The top diplomat said the U.S. has long opposed the creation and release of the database, was not provided any information and Washington gives support for the American companies referenced.

"We call upon all UN member states to join us in rejecting this effort, which facilitates the discriminatory boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) campaign and delegitimizes Israel.

"Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace," Pompeo concluded.

Patrick Connors, media and communications officer for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led group that calls for sanctions to target the Israeli occupation, welcomed the release of list.

“The publication of this database is a very significant first concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel's illegal settlements, which constitute a war crime,” BDS said in a statement.

Publishing the names of the companies is a crucial first step in rejecting attempts to legalize the settlements, according to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

US mission at UN

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said she was appalled by the release of the list.

"This database was created by the discredited UN Human Rights Council with the intent to fuel economic retaliation against the listed companies," she said in a statement in which she described the list as "shameful" and divisive.

"We expect more from the leadership of the UN to foster reconciliation and communication, while not being a source of division. In releasing this database, the High Commissioner falls prey, by intent or accident, to the very impulses that have impeded the path to peace for seventy years," she added.