UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is being urged to ban the sale in the UK of all products from Israeli settlements, in a new campaign push by Amnesty International.
The call, issued as part of an Amnesty campaign marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, also “asks the Foreign Secretary to stop companies in the UK from operating in the settlements or trading in settlement goods”.
According to the global rights NGO, “hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of goods produced in Israeli settlements” are exported globally every year, “despite the fact that most countries around the world have officially condemned the settlements as illegal under international law”.
Israeli and international businesses have also enabled and facilitated settlement construction and expansion
Over the last 50 years, “more than 50,000 Palestinians have had their homes demolished, while some 600,000 Israeli settlers have moved into illegally-constructed settlements, many serviced by settler-only roads and guarded by a network of Israeli military checkpoints.”
Overall, Amnesty estimates, “approximately 1,000 square kilometres of Palestinian land has been expropriated by settlers in the past half-century.”
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International’s United Kingdom Section, said: “As Boris Johnson will know from his visits to the region, the settlements have robbed thousands of Palestinians of their land and livelihoods.”
“All settlement goods are tainted by illegality and the UK Government should put a stop to the trade in these goods. With a UN ‘name and shame’ list looming, it’s time the UK showed some moral leadership on this issue.”
Allen’s reference to a UN list comes after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein sent letters to 150 international and Israeli businesses warning them that they may be included in a UN database of companies involved with illegal settlements due to be published in December.
Meanwhile, last week, as reported by MEMO, the major Danish pension fund Sampension excluded four companies from its portfolio for their ties to Israeli settlements.
As part of its campaign, Amnesty has launched a new website – 50yearstoomany.uk – with an audio-visual overview of the 50-year occupation.