Mideast: HRW asks firms to end ties with Israeli settlements

Report by human rights group says Palestinian rights violated

19 January, 11:49

    the West Bank  Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim

    (ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH, JANUARY 19 - In order to respect human rights, companies should stop funding, providing services and having commercial relations with the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a 162-page report on ''Occupation Inc: How settlement businesses contribute to Israel's violations of Palestinian rights''.

    Such commercial activities, wrote HRW, contribute to the confiscation of Palestinian land by Israeli authorities and discriminatory policies providing privileges to settlers at the expense of the Palestinians, like access to land and water, government subsidies and permits to develop the territory, according to the organization.

    According to data published by HRW, over half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Commercial activities quoted in the report ''contributed to the expansion process of those settlements'', the organization said. The only way for foreign companies to reduce their role in the Israeli violations denounced by the group ''is to stop operating with and in Israeli settlements'', said Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights division of HRW.

    HRW in particular cited Israeli banks funding the construction of settlements and international real estate agencies selling the properties. Also under accusation was the army's activity in the Area C, 62% of the West Bank. (ANSAmed)

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