Several Israeli companies have received notices that they will be blacklisted for violating international law and encouraging Jewish settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The companies are part of a United Nations database, whose release has been delayed for years due to Israeli and American pressure.
Political sources stated that the targeted companies are Mekorot (the state water company), Hot Telecommunication Systems Ltd., Bezeq, Cellcom, Egged, Bank Leumi, Elbit Systems, Angel Bakery, Cafe Cafe in addition to oil companies, Electra Ltd, and Israel Aerospace Industries.
The notice stipulates that any service provided by these companies in territories occupied since 1967 is a violation of international law and will not pass without accountability.
Israel said the move was a precursor to the release of the names of thousands of Israeli and foreign companies to hold them to account.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has been seeking to publish the list since 2017, but joint Israeli and American pressure hindered it.
UNHCR Commissioner Michelle Bachelet faced severe criticism by Israeli sources for supporting the decision to release the database.
“Israeli authorities’ brazen expansion of illegal settlements underscores why the UN database of businesses facilitating these settlements needs to be published,” Bruno Stagno Ugarte of Human Rights Watch said in a statement in March after the publication of the database was again delayed.
“Each delay further entrenches corporate involvement in the systematic rights abuses stemming from illegal settlements,” he said.
The Israeli firms had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to interfere to prevent the release of the database, saying it would cause financial damage to thousands of Israeli and Palestinian employees.
Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war. Its settlements there are considered illegal by most world powers. Palestinians deem the settlements, and the military presence needed to protect them, to be obstacles to their goal of establishing a state. Israel disputes this.