‘Release database of businesses engaged in Israel’s illegal settlements –Palestinians demand of OHCHR

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Palestinian women from Khirbet Tana distraught as they see the damage to their olive trees done by rampaging Israeli settlers

The Ramallah-based Al-Haq human rights organisation on Tuesday called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to release the long-overdue database of businesses engaged in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

On 24 March 2016, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution 31/36.
The resolution demanded that OHCHR ‘produce a database of all business enterprises’ that ‘directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in consultation with the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
The resolution further specified that the data is to be transmitted to the HRC at its 34th session, and the UN database to be updated annually.
‘After three years since the adoption of resolution 31/36 and more than two years of its initial scheduled release at the 34th HRC session, the OHCHR is yet to release the UN database,’ said Al-Haq.
‘The repeated, open-ended and unexplained delays in releasing the UN database make us question whether the High Commissioner will fulfil her mandate at all.
‘At this point, the release of the UN database has become a matter of ensuring the impartiality and credibility of the High Commissioner, the OHCHR, and the HRC.
‘If the High Commissioner is unable to implement and fulfil an entrusted mandate, then an explanation must be provided to the HRC.’
Al-Haq said that the release and annual update of the UN database are significant for several reasons, including:
‘The UN database will identify businesses that violate international humanitarian and human rights law as a result of their operations and relationships with illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
‘Such transparency is necessary for States, businesses and the public, and could assist in ensuring that companies are not complicit or involved in gross human rights violations.
‘The UN database will highlight the adverse impacts of Israeli settlements and associated businesses on the rights of Palestinians, notably the right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over natural resources, including land and water.
‘The UN database will serve as a universal tool of transparency for business enterprises that are involved in and profiting from political instability, armed conflict and the exploitation of vulnerable communities and populations around the world.’
Al-Haq called on civil society organisations, human rights defenders, social movements, networks and groups from around the world to join its call for the release of the UN database.
‘To this date, more than 100 Palestinian, regional and international human rights organisations and civil society have joined our repeated calls to the UN High Commissioner and Member States,’ it said.
It urged members to advocate for the release of the UN database before their national parliaments and parliamentarians, engage with their national Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the UN database, send a letter to the UN High Commissioner calling for the release and annual update of the UN database, and issue a public statement calling on the High Commissioner’s Office to release the UN database.
It also urged utilising local, regional media and social media to raise awareness about the UN database.

  • Under pressure from minor and adult Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the Damoun prison administration informed the prisoners that it has agreed to relocate the adult prisoners who had been taking care of the minor ones at Ofer prison near Ramallah, to its prison, in order for them to continue to care for the minor prisoners.

The Palestinian Commission for Detainees Affairs said the prisoners had insisted on relocating the adult prisoners with the 33 minors who were transferred from Ofer to Damoun on Monday without their adult caretakers.
The commission said that having the minors in Damoun without the adult prisoners to look after them and represent their interests with the prison administration would put the minors in great jeopardy.
It said the pressure from the prisoners have forced the administration to change its opinion and allow the adult supervisors to relocate to the prison the minors were taken to.

  • An Israeli army bulldozer on Tuesday demolished a blacksmith shop in the village of Hizma, to the northeast of Jerusalem, and seized it contents under the pretext it was built without license.

The army demolished the shop built of metal and brick after confiscating its equipment and tools.

  • Israeli forces on Tuesday detained 19 Palestinians in multiple raids across the occupied West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner Society (PPS).

It said in a press release that Israeli forces rounded up six Palestinians, including two brothers, from the northern West Bank district of Jenin.
Four of the six detainees were identified as residents of Anin village, located to the west of Jenin city, and the two others as residents of Qabatiya town, south of Jenin city.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian after ransacking his house in Tubas district.
In Jericho district, Israeli military stormed al-Ouja village, located to the north of Jericho city, where soldiers detained two Palestinians.
Another, identified as a resident of Ein al-Sultan camp in Jericho, was also detained as he attempted to cross a military checkpoint south of Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem district, Israeli soldiers manning a flying checkpoint at the entrance of Beit Duqqu village, located to the northwest of Jerusalem city, physically assaulted a former prisoner from the village and detained him.
Local people said that the prisoner had spent two-and-a-half years in Israeli custody before being released in 2018.
This came as a Palestinian prisoner who was held captive for 18 years was re-detained minutes after his release.
PPS elaborated that the man, identified as a resident of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sur Baher, was released from the Naqab Detention Centre in southern Israel after spending 18 years behind bars, but he was rearrested a few minutes later.
In Bethlehem district, PPS said an Israeli military raid in Beit Fajjar town, located to the south of Bethlehem city, resulted in the detention of three teenagers.
In Hebron district, PPS noted that several predawn military raids were conducted across the district resulting in the detention of five Palestinians, including two brothers and a former prisoner.
The former prisoner was rearrested as he was waiting to welcome back a released prisoner at the Mitar crossing, close to al-Dhahiriya town, south of Hebron.

  • European Union (EU) Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Tuesday went on a fact-finding mission to Issawiya, a neighbourhood in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, to hear from residents and representatives of civil society organisations about unprecedented and continuous incursions and clashes between residents and Israeli police in the neighbourhood since May 2019.

An EU press release said the EU Heads of Mission met residents, community representatives and representatives of civil society organisations active in the community who talked about an unprecedented increase in the presence of Israeli security forces since May 2019 in the neighbourhood with daily incursions – many of them taking place in the vicinity of schools.
One person was killed on 27 June 2019, and there are estimates that more than 300 have been injured.
‘Interlocutors expressed that the raids have resulted in several severe incidents of police brutality and excessive force, including assaults on residents and use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades and night raids as well as arrests.
‘They estimated that some 700 people have been arrested (with up to about 30 indictments filed),’ said the press release.