UN Expert on Palestinian Territories Calls for Ban on ‘Illegal Settlement’ Products
JNS.org – Canadian law professor and UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk on Wednesday called for an international ban on Israel’s “illegal settlement” products at the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights committee.
Lynk urged “a complete ban” of companies active in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Golan Heights, and the publication of a list of these companies, as a step to ending Israel’s “illegal occupation” of the West Bank.
“No occupation in the modern world,” he said, “has been conducted with the international community so alert to its many grave breaches of international law … and yet so unwilling to act upon the overwhelming evidence before it to employ the tangible and plentiful legal and political tools at its disposal to end the injustice.”
He pointed to economic conditions in Gaza, which he called a “human-made catastrophe,” and also referred to the UN Commission of Inquiry’s report to the Human Rights Council last March, which incorrectly claimed that the “victims” shot by Israeli soldiers were peaceful demonstrators, when they were actually members of terrorist groups, including Hamas.
“Israel has demonstrated virtually no accountability to address these actions,” said Lynk. “The international community has displayed great unwillingness to impose any meaningful accountability on Israel.”
Lynk has previously expressed anti-Israel views at the United Nations, including urging economic sanctions against Israel; promoting boycott campaigns to delegitimize Israel; and calling on the international community to increase pressure on Israel through imposing special travel visa requirements on Israelis, undermining its trade agreements with the European Union and stopping the “multitude forms of military or economic cooperation or academic cooperation with Israel” in order to pressure “ordinary Israelis” and “the attitude of the Israeli government.”
His address on Wednesday comes three years after the adoption of a UNHRC blacklist measure that called for the creation of a database of businesses “involved in activities” in Judea and Samaria. The list of Israeli banks, supermarkets, restaurant chains, bus companies, security firms and building companies, which was to be published in 2017, has yet to be published.
Israel is vehemently opposed to the publishing of such a list, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the UNHRC an “anti-Israel circus” following the measure’s passage. He added that the international body is discriminatory, “attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”
Washington, too, is critical of the list and the UNHRC, pulling out of the committee in June 2018 and cutting funding, partly due to the council’s “unrelenting bias” against Israel.