U.S. Trying to Prevent UN 'Blacklist' of Companies Working in Israeli Settlements

Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb are said to be among the American companies on the list, report says

Construction cranes and excavators at a building site in the Israeli settlement of Neve Yaakov, 2016.
Construction cranes and excavators at a building site in the Israeli settlement of Neve Yaakov, 2016. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP

The U.S. government is fighting against the creation of a database that identifies international companies working in the settlements, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Diplomatic sources told the Washington Post that the U.S. is working against the UN Human Rights Commission's resolution, which passed in March of last year and is to be published before the end of this year, saying that the list is the first step towards anti-Israel boycotts.

Senior U.S. officials declined to provide details regarding which companies are included in the most recent draft. However, sources involved in compiling the list said that Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb are among the American companies included. The list has yet to be completed, and is being compiled by the UN Commission on Human Rights based in in Geneva.

UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, told U.S. officials that he plans to publish the list by the end of the year. Zeid, a Jordanian diplomat who served as ambassador to the U.S. in the past, has previously accepted requests from the U.S. to postpone the process. However, the report cites unnamed diplomats from other counties saying that Zeid intends to proceed with the list.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert commented that "the United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start" and that "these types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues."

Nauert added that the U.S. worked alongside Israel in their failed attempt at blocking UN funding for the database. Furthermore, "we have not participated and will not participate in its creation or contribute to its content," she said.

The UN human rights commission decided to compile the list in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and its "implications on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people."

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Dannon, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are among Israeli critics who have spoken out against the list, citing "modern anti-Semitism" and support for the boycott, divest, and santions movement.