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UN publishes blacklist of companies operating in settlements

(JTA) — The United Nations published its list of companies doing business in settlements — what it calls “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” or the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released the list on Wednesday following delays to its scheduled release date nearly a year ago. U.N. committees can use the list to sanction the named companies, which include Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor, as well as Motorola and General Mills.

Ninety-four of the companies are based in Israel and 18 are in six other countries: the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Thailand and Luxembourg.

The list was prepared in response to a request by the U.N. Human Rights Council contained in a March 2016 resolution that mandated the office to produce a database of companies doing business in the West Bank.

“While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them,” a statement from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

Anne Herzberg, legal adviser and U.N. liaison at NGO Monitor, said the United Nations “has officially decided to endorse anti-Semitic BDS by issuing a defamatory list of companies it claims are supposedly involved in ‘settlement activity.’ These companies have done nothing wrong and many are involved in providing goods and services to Palestinians pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, called the list a “shameful initiative” and said boycotting Israeli companies “does not advance the cause of peace and does not build confidence between the sides.”