Palestinians praise UNHRC’s initiatives to establish a group of experts to be charged with providing annual updates to list of businesses that do business with Israeli firms located in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria.
The first meeting of the UN Human Rights Council since the onset of the coronavirus crisis picked up its focus on the Palestinians, with members saying that a list of companies that do business with Israeli companies in east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights – all areas that lie outside the 1967 borders – should be updated annually.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet told the UNHRC that a group of independent experts should be established for the specific purpose of updating the list, which was first published in February of this year.
After the “blacklist,” as Israel terms it, was released, the Foreign Ministry instructed Israeli consulates to reach out to the governors of states where the companies listed are located and ask them to denounce the initiative.
Companies featured on the list include travel firms AirBnB and Expedia, both of which offer listings in Israeli settlements.
“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted. The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in February.
“Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it. It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us,” he added, referring to the Trump administration’s June 2018 decision to leave the council, citing its “chronic bias against Israel.”
In Monday’s sessions, representatives of the Palestinian Authority asked UNHRC member nations who refused to work on the list to reconsider their decision, claiming that Israel has stepped up actions against Palestinian civilians.
Syria’s UNHRC representative said that Israel has “occupied” the Golan Heights for over 50 years, despite various Security Council resolutions urging it to withdraw. The Syrian delegate said that US support had “accelerated” Israel’s “occupation policies” on the Golan Heights and in east Jerusalem. Syria has no claim to east Jerusalem.
The session also reaffirmed the UNHRC’s commitment to a two-state solution as the “best roadmap for solving this crisis.” Such a solution would be based on the 1967 borders and give the Palestinians east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.