Israel calls UN request for settlement database 'blacklist'

Israel assails UN body for adopting measure to establish database for settlement companies

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon addresses a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on January 26, 2016.

Israel slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday for adopting a measure that calls for establishment of a database of companies “involved in activities” in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon called the database a “blacklist” and said that the UNHRC was behaving “obsessively” against Israel.

The UNHCR, 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 council asked for the list of enterprises to be updated annually and to be appraised of the "human rights and international law violations involved in the production of settlement goods."

Danon said the council’s decision was reminiscent of "a dark period in Europe when Jewish businesses were singled out. Whoever supported today's decision, should be ashamed." 

Israel and its major US ally have accused the Geneva-based council of bias against the Jewish state.

A general view show Israel's controversial separation barrier dividing the West Bank city of Abu Dis (L) and the East Jerusalem on March 24, 2016. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the body as an “anti-Israel circus,” and said  in a statement that the council "attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea."

Netanyahu added that it was absurd to condemn Israel rather than deal with attacks against Israel and Europe.

"Israel calls on responsible governments not to honour the decisions of the Council that discriminate against Israel," Netanyahu said.

The council named Canadian Stanley Michael Lynk as its new investigator on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories following resignation in January of special rapporteur Makarim Wibisono, citing Israel’s failure to cooperate with him.

The body adopted nearly 40 resolutions at the end of its four week session on Syria, Iran and North Korea.

Recently, Israel decided to confiscate 2,340 dunams of land near Ariha in the West Bank. Under international law, Israel building in occupied territories is illegal.

Approximately 400,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank in settlements that are largely condemned as being illegal by the international community, which sees settlement buildings as undermining international efforts to reach a two-state solution.

Israeli settlements continue to outrage Palestinians which is one of the factors behind the collapse of US-led peace talks in 2014, and a surge of violence over the past five months that has dimmed hopes that negotiations could be revived any time soon.

Palestinian bedouin students return from school to their homes near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank village of al Eizariya, east of Jerusalem on March 1, 2016. (Reuters)

The US Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday that the settlement expansion is weakening prospects for peace.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry also criticised Israel saying that widening Israeli settlement is not helping to ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

British Prime Minister David Cameron harshly criticised Israel saying that "What this government has consistently done and gone on doing is saying yes, we are supporters of Israel, but we do not support illegal settlements, we do not support what is happening in East Jerusalem.”

Turkey also fiercely condemned a fresh settlement building in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem saying that Israel’s steps against the international law harm efforts for permanent peace and they are unacceptable.

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.

Almost 350,000 Palestinians reside in East Jerusalem and 2.7 million in the West Bank. The Palestinians want these areas and the Gaza Strip to form a future Palestinian state.

TRTWorld and agencies