ELNET (European Leadership Network) strongly opposes today’s report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, containing a list of companies that are involved in certain activities relating to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
ELNET believes that approaching the legitimate political debate over Israeli settlements through blacklisting is misguided and harmful to both Palestinians and Israelis. UN Blacklists are not compiled against companies operating in disputed areas in any other conflict. Singling out Israel in this regard is odious.
This blacklist exposes 112 companies from Europe, Israel, and the US, which operate in accordance with Israeli law, to anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. We are deeply concerned that the report might provide tailwind to the extremist campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel and might further inflame the toxic environment threatening Jewish communities in Europe and beyond.
The blacklist could also adversely affect the livelihood of both Arab and Jewish populations in the West Bank. This includes more than 36,000 Palestinians employed by Israeli enterprises in the West Bank, providing for hundreds of thousands of family members and injecting some $300 million annually into the Palestinian economy. While the report pretends to address Palestinian human rights, by ignoring the political context of a conflict in which both sides hold to legitimate claims as well as human rights, it could harm the potential path to its peaceful resolution.
The report was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR). This is a body infamous for its chronic anti-Israel bias, which has given the stage to the most serious human rights violators across the globe, has set an exclusive, discriminatory agenda item in its sessions to attack Israel (agenda item 7), and has adopted more decisions against Israel than against the entire world.
ELNET commends a growing number of European countries – including the UK, Germany and Denmark – for voicing a strong opposition to the agenda item singling out Israel. We call on all member states of the EU to adopt the same position and to focus on more positive ways than blacklisting to encourage efforts at stability and peace in the Israeli-Palestinian context.