Quarterly Updates for (16 Nov 2017 — 15 Feb 2018)

After more than a year of lobbying by U.S. and Israeli diplomats, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) delayed publication of its blacklist of companies operating in Israel’s settlements in the oPt this quarter. The UNHRC had approved a resolution calling for the creation of such a database on 3/24/2016 (see JPS 45 [4]), and the head of UNHRC, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, repeatedly vowed to publish the list by the end of 2017. But pressure from the United States and Israel was apparently too great and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights refrained from disclosing the names, merely saying that the list included 206 companies domiciled in twenty-one countries. On 1/26, Al Hussein’s office explained to the UNHRC that the committee compiling the database had not yet contacted everyone on the list and for that reason they were withholding company identification, but they would release the information once all 206 companies were notified of their inclusion.

Also of note: the UNGA approved six resolutions condemning various aspects of the Israeli occupation on 11/29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UNGA has passed similar resolutions in previous years. New this year, the United Kingdom broke with its earlier practice and voted against a resolution calling on Israel to return control of the Golan Heights to Syria. “It is unnecessary and disproportionate,” a UK representative said, arguing that the measure did “little to advance peace or mutual understanding.”