US condemns UN request for West Bank business database

United States condemns United Nations call for list of companies operating in occupied West Bank

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby briefs reporters at the Pentagon on March 7, 2014.

The United States condemned a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that requests the setting up of a database of businesses operating in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a measure that Israel described as "blacklist."

The resolution, which calls for the database of enterprises to be updated annually, was passed under the Human Rights Council’s agenda item seven, which covers the "human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories."

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby criticised the motion at his daily briefing.

"We continue to unequivocally oppose the very existence of that agenda item and therefore any resolutions ... that come from it," Kirby said, accusing the body of "bias against Israel."

Kirby added that the creation of a database would be an unprecedented step by the council and exceeded its authority while repeating the US view that Israeli settlement building on occupied land erodes the chances of peace with the Palestinians.

A Palestinian man collects green onions at a farm near a part of the controversial Israeli barrier near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on March 30, 2016. (Reuters)

The UNHRC, a 47-member state forum established 10 years ago, adopted the measure with 32 votes in favour, none against and 15 - mainly European nations - abstaining.

The move came less than six months after the European Union published new guidelines for labeling products made in Israeli settlements, a move Israeli officials view as discriminatory and fear could lead to an effective boycott.

The Geneva-based council has been long accused by the US amd Israel of bias against the Jewish state.

Israel also slammed the UNHRC last Thursday for adopting the measure that calls for establishment of a database of companies "involved in activities" in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, calling it a "blacklist."

The US is not currently a voting member of the council and member states are elected to three-year terms by the UN General Assembly and may not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed East Jerusalem, declaring it part of its eternal, indivisible capital, in a move never recognised internationally.

TRTWorld and agencies