Palestinians welcome UN's list of companies complicit in illegal Israeli expansion

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Before publishing the report, the United Nations rights office communicated with the companies involved, answered questions, and provided them with information.

PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat said: "While this list does not include all the companies profiting from Israel's illegal colonial-settlement enterprise in occupied Palestine, it's a crucial first step to restore hope in multilateralism and worldwide law".

Israel, meanwhile, has dubbed the report "shameful".

America's top diplomat castigated the United Nations on Thursday for the publication the previous day of a report listing companies said to have business ties to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians could also demand compensation for "use of our occupied land illegally", he said.

Other businesses listed for inclusion in a database included travel firms and a steel producer. "However, after an extensive and meticulous review process we are satisfied this fact-based report reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate", Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

"We demand the companies immediately close their headquarters and branches inside illegal Israeli settlements because their presence contradicts global and United Nations resolutions", Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh wrote on his Facebook page.

In 2017, an Israeli cabinet minister said the country had covert contacts with Riyadh, and Israel Radio reported that Prince Mohammed had met with officials in Israel, drawing an official Saudi denial.

"Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted", a statement from his office quoted him as saying.

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"The US peace plan for the Middle East is not a project to create peace", Erdogan said, while speaking to Pakistani lawmakers in Islamabad on Friday.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin called the database "shameful", while Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the database was "discriminatory anti-Israel policy". "In releasing this database, the High Commissioner falls prey, by intent or accident, to the very impulses that have impeded the path to peace for seventy years", she added.

"These companies have done nothing wrong and many are involved in providing goods and services to Palestinians pursuant to the Oslo Accords".

It said it had identified 112 business entities which it has reasonable grounds to conclude have ties with Israeli settlements - 94 domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other countries including the United States, Britain and France.

The report was issued on the eve of the U.N. Human Rights Council's main annual session opening in Geneva from Feb 24.

In findings released in an investigation by the Financial Times, the newspaper discovered that by taking all of the illegal settlement addresses and entering them into Amazon's delivery portal, the company extends its website's offer of free shipping "if your shipping address is in Israel, your items are eligible, and your total order meets the minimum free shipping threshold of $49".

The report will bring a degree of transparency to business activities and help build pressure on companies to stop contributing to rights abuse and to comply with their human rights responsibilities.

Human Rights Watch has issued reports documenting the business activities in the settlements in both cases.

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