To: Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Vojislav ŠUC, President of the Human Rights Council
Re: Israeli citizens in support of a UN database of companies which profiteer from Israel's occupation, and of UN sanctions and corporate accountability measures to end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights
We are Israeli citizens, active against our government's policies of occupation and apartheid. After years of local activism, trying to persuade our society that an end to these policies is a moral imperative, we have come to the conclusion that the UN and the international community must play a more prominent role in this process. This appeal of ours is based on international law, but also reflects our personal shock and horror, as Israelis, at the ongoing bloodshed, especially on the Gaza strip border.
We have come to understand that the UN and the international community have allowed the State of Israel to commit gross violations of human rights and international law, for decades.
We thank the UN OHCHR for compiling a database of companies which profiteer from Israel's occupation, but we are disappointed that the UN OHCHR has failed to publish the database.
Therefore, we call for the immediate publication of the UN database. We also call for UN sanctions and corporate accountability measures aimed at ending Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. These violations include:
The construction of illegal settlements on occupied land
The demolitions of Palestinian homes on occupied land
The confiscation of occupied Palestinian land
The establishment of separate legal systems based on ethnic-national basis in the occupied territories - , and dozens of discriminatory laws based on ethnic-national basis within Israel
Severe violations of the right to free movement
Prohibition of access to healthcare, and attacks on hospitals, medical facilities, medical personnel and patients
The use of violence, including lethal weapons, against civilian population
Arrest and ill-treatment of minors, including children
Attacks on Palestinian cultural, academic and sports institutions
Systematic economic strangulation via siege of the Gaza Strip, and systematic de-development in the West Bank as well as within Israel itself Extrajudicial executions The killing of whole families by indiscrimanate large scale bombing Calls (with impunity) for genocide and extermination by lawmakers and other public figures
Perhaps even more disturbing than these systematic daily brutalities, is the fact that this would not be possible without the investment and profit cycle of private corporations. Through research, for example by the Who Profits project, one has learned that hundreds of companies, in diverse commercial and military fields - including banking, supermarkets, construction, transportation, agriculture, hi-tec and, of course, arms and military equipment - are deeply invested in systematic violations of human rights and international law, thereby profiteering from Israel's apartheid and occupation policies.
In December 2016, the Director of Israeli human rights NGO B’tselem appealed to the UN to take action on Israel’s occupation, noting that that “Anything short of decisive international action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation”.
We would like to encourage the United Nations Human Rights Council’s efforts to maintain and publish a database of Israeli and international companies complicit in these illegal Israeli policies against the indigenous Palestinian people. We welcome this practical step towards accountability and join the Palestinian civil society’s call to the UN Human Rights Council, via the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which states: “This is a welcome step but the UN Human Rights Council must go further to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law including by supporting a full ban on trade with illegal Israeli settlements and a two-way military embargo.”
As Israeli citizens, we hereby reaffirm our call to the international community to keep monitoring and acting to end Israel's violations of international and human rights. Specifically, we call for the monitoring of Israeli and international companies which profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip.
We hope to see the United Nations take the next step towards justice, accountability and full equality in in our region. Based on the ongoing human rights catastrophe we are witnessing, the immediate publication of the UN database is a necessary step for justice and accountability, and the protection of human rights, including Palestinian human rights. We also call for UN sanctions aimed at ending Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. As Israeli citizens we say: The time has come for justice, equality and the rule of international law in our region.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka 'Boycott from Within')