Tag Archives: Occupied Palestinian territories

31 October 2013

UN Special Rapporteur: complicity of companies with housing settlements in occupied Palestinian territory can lead to liability

In a news conference at the United Nations headquarters, Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said that financial institutions and real estate companies involved with housing settlements in occupied Palestinian territory – which are considered illegal under according to the Fourth Geneva Convention – may be held criminally accountable.

The Special Rapporteur commented on his report that he presented to the UN General Assembly on 10 September 2013. This report focused on businesses profiting from Israeli settlements, with reference to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It contains a model for legal analysis to assess the probability of liability, including international criminal liability, for corporate complicity in breaches of international law related to illegal settlements.

At the news conference Falk said ‘I strongly encourage all business to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a guide for how to conduct their business, and to exercise due diligence to ensure they do not contribute to human rights violations and abuse, and in order to avoid responsibility for complicity in breaches of international law.’

Source: UN News Centre | Deals linked to settlements in occupied territories could be ‘criminal,’ UN expert warns

30 September 2013

Kontorovich: EU directly funds settlements occupied Northern Cyprus

In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Eugene Kontorovich explains that the European Union knowingly and purposefully provides substantial direct financial assistance to settlements in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. Kontorovich, professor at Northwestern University School of Law, argues that there is a contradiction between the EU position in regard to the occupied Palestinian territories and occupied territories in Cyprus. Whereas with regard to the former, the EU has stated that international law mandates its guidelines that prevent EU money from benefiting occupied Palestinian territories, with regard to the latter, the EU funds an occupied EU member state, without mentioning any international legal question about such funding.

Source: The Jerusalem Post | How the EU directly funds settlements in occupied territory

9 September 2013

US calls on EU to suspend restrictions on financial assistance to Israel

US Secretary of State John Kerry called on the European Union to suspend its restrictions on financial assistance to Israeli institutions in territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 war. Kerry argued that suspending the restrictions would show the Israeli public the benefit of pursuing a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

A contrary opinion was expressed by Alon Liel, former high ranking official at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former ambassador in South-Africa, who wrote in the Dutch newspaper Trouw that the EU guidelines should be kept in place, so as to maintain pressure on Israel.

Source: The New York Times | Kerry Asks European Union to Halt Ban on Aid to Israeli Institutions
Source: Trouw | Europa, zet Israël flink onder druk, dat is in Israëls belang (in Dutch)

27 August 2013

Dutch government urges local company not to participate in East Jerusalem project

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Dutch Foreign Ministry has warned the Dutch engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV not to participate in a sewage construction project in East Jerusalem because it would violate international law.

The warning comes after the publication of new EU guidelines in July that ban union funding of Israeli institutions operating in the occupied territories. According to Haaretz, EU officials are considering warning companies about contacts with the settlements, and an Israeli official was reported stating that such a decision would be a serious escalation in EU measures against the settlements.

Source: Haaretz | Dutch government urges local firm to cancel East Jerusalem project

29 July 2013

Israel freezes co-operation with EU in occupied territories

The Guardian reported that Israel has frozen cooperation with the European Union on work in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The move comes after the adoption of new EU guidelines last week that explicitly ban union funding of Israeli institutions operating in the occupied territories.

According to The Guardian, the freeze affects all projects that require civil administration permits, diplomatic access or joint meetings, and no permits have reportedly been issued to EU humanitarian aid workers for several days. The EU provides aid and equipment to the affected Palestinian communities and trains Palestinian security forces.

Source: The Guardian | Israel freezes co-operation with EU in Palestinian territories

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