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Calls for UN to blacklist German company 'with ties to illegal Israel settlements'

An aerial view of Pisgat Ze'ev, an illegal Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem and the largest residential neighbourhood in Jerusalem with a population of over 50,000 on October 04, 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf /Anadolu Agency]
Israeli settlement units in Jerusalem on 4 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf /Anadolu Agency]

Two civil society organisations have urged the human rights office of the UN to include a German company as a firm in its list of international companies operating in the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Al-Haq, a Palestinian rights organisation that challenges human rights abuses, and SOMO, the centre for research on multinational corporations, have accused Heidelberg Cement, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, of profiting from the extraction of resources from Palestinian land illegally confiscated by Israel in the West Bank and the sale of construction materials to illegal Israeli settlements.

The report submitted today documents the direct and indirect implications of Heidelberg Cement’s operations in the Nahal Raba stone quarry through its subsidiary, Hanson Israel.

“The extraction of Palestinian natural resources, namely stone, has taken place in a context of deliberate institutional policies aimed towards the confiscation and exploitation of Palestinian land and resources by Israel, the Occupying Power, while also providing construction materials used to establish and expand illegal Israeli settlements,” states SOMO in its press release.

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A report was released earlier this year by the human rights office of the UN containing names of 112 companies with ties to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The two organisations described the publication of the long-awaited report as “a significant milestone in the pursuit of accountability for corporate involvement in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.”

“As civil society representatives, it is our responsibility to support the office in the implementation of the mandate by continuing to provide information regarding the involvement of businesses in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise,” they said.

Of the 112 companies, which include Bezeq telecommunications and Teva Pharmaceutical industries; 94 are based in Israel, with 18 in six other countries.

The Ramallah-based human rights group and SOMO said they expect Heidelberg Cement and all businesses playing a role in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise to be included in the update “as a means to challenge the economic incentive structure perpetuating the occupation and the continued denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and to permanent sovereignty over natural resources.”

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