PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat on HRW Report regarding Israeli settlement businesses

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report details the contribution that settlement businesses have in systematically denying of Palestinian national and human rights. It certainly exposes one of the most absurd media lines Israel’s propaganda machine has been spewing that settlement businesses ‘contribute’ to the Palestinian economy. It’s important that the report has outlined third state responsibility and encourages international businesses to severe and define properly ties with illegal Israel settlements.

We are disappointed that the report falls short by failing to call for a complete ban on trade with Israeli settlements, nonetheless, we welcome the report’s central message that all lawful measures should be taken to properly define products and services and ensure that they do not receive any benefits under bi-lateral trade agreements. We also congratulate the report for detailing with accuracy how international businesses and governments that maintain trade ties with Israeli settlements are complicit in the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

We urge all government to work towards ending companies or subsidiaries of Israeli companies operating out of international markets from operating in the occupied State of Palestine, we also urge countries to adopt national legislation that bans illegal settler products and services from entering any international market and to severe ties with any establishments that contribute to the denial of Palestinian fundamental human rights. 

Our position on that matter is clear: There must be a full cessation of trade, both in goods and services, with illegal Israeli settlements. We call for the full application of international humanitarian law in the occupied State of Palestine, including international responsibility towards the full implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Background:

·       Israeli illegal settlements and their associated infrastructure state-directed policies is placing a heavy toll on the Palestinian economy costing it almost 50% of its current GDP per year according to recent World Bank report. We estimate the cost at 89% of our current GDP.

·       Illegal settlements operate businesses and factories that use Palestinian natural resources including water, land, stones, marbles, Dead Sea minerals, agriculture among various others. The theft in day light of natural resources making their way to European and international markets should end now. This is a grave violation of international law and international legal norms and should not be rewarded by the international community.

·       Israeli products, many of which are manufactured partially or fully from Palestinian natural resources is a war crime and international business ties should end immediately. 

·       A significant number of international companies operate in illegal Israeli settlements and are benefiting from Israel’s illegal policies in the occupied state of Palestine. Countries have an obligation to ensure that those who are directly or indirectly involved in the Israeli settlement enterprise, or in any other Israeli policy in the occupied State of Palestine that contravenes international law, are bereft of any benefit derived from bi-lateral agreements signed between the parties and should encourage its own companies to halt such relations.

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