Saturday, January 16, 2021

Human Rights Watch: business in Israeli settlements contrary to international law

By Sara Cuña - January 20, 2016
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settlements] [Human rights]

Human Rights Watch released a report titled, “Occupation, inc.”, yesterday, recommending that companies operating in or with Israeli settlements cease their business activities, as they may be contributing to violations of International law and Palestinians’ rights.


“It is Human Rights Watch’s view that by virtue of doing business in or with settlements or settlement business, companies contribute to one or more of these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses,” the report read.


Numerous small businesses operate in among 200 Jewish-settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the report notes. In additional, there are approximately 20 Israeli-administered industrial zones, which cover approximately 1,365 hectares.


HRW’s view is that by doing business in or with settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, companies and private business are violating international law and contributing to the abasement of Palestinian’s rights.


Israeli residents of Israeli settlements,  of which there are over 500,000, benefit from low rents, favorable tax rates, government subsidies, and cheap Palestinian labor, the report also claimed.


According to Israeli labor rights group Kav LaOved, Palestinian workers in settlement businesses are paid less than Israel’s hourly minimum wage and are not entitled to vacation or sick days because they are not subject to Israeli employment law, unlike their Israeli counterparts.


According to the World Bank, Israeli restrictions on Palestinians in Area C, where most of the settlement activity takes place, costs the Palestinian economy about $3,4 billions a year.


The report states that settlements’ survival depends on the constant violation of International Law, as Israel confiscates land, water and other natural resources to supply Israeli residents of settlements and the construction and maintenance of these settlements.


“HRW is not calling for a consumer boycott of settlement companies, but rather for businesses to comply with their own rights responsibilities by ceasing settlement-related activities,” the report recommended to companies operating in settlements.


The establishment of Israeli settlements inside Palestinian territories dates to Israel’s military occupation in 1967.


The presence of settlements in the West Bank violates the laws of occupation as put in article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and United Nations Security Council’s resolution 446.


Resolution 446  states that the establishment of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and other arab countries are not only unlawful, but they also “constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”




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