Israel has suspended its ties with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Israeli Foreign Ministry (FM) announced on Wednesday, several hours after the UN body published a list of 112 companies that do business in West Bank settlements.
FM Israel Katz’s office said he ordered the “exceptional and harsh measure” in retaliation for Michelle Bachelet’s office “serving the BDS campaign,” referring to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.
Katz intends to protect the companies operating in Israel, his office stated.
He claimed that by publishing the list, the Human Rights Council joined the anti-Israel boycott movement, but stressed that the database is not legally binding.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed the council and similarly vowed to fight the database, Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports.
“Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it. It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us,” he added, referring to the Trump administration’s June 2018 decision to leave the council, citing its “chronic bias against Israel.”
The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday slammed a report by a United Nations human rights body for blacklisting U.S. companies that operate in the Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank.
In separate statements, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the panel’s chairman, and Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the committee’s top Democrat, criticized the report as politically motivated and encouraging the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday identified at least six American companies, including Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor, Booking Holdings Inc., General Mills and Motorola, as operating in “illegal” Israeli settlements
The United Nations views Israeli settlements as illegal under international law.
“I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet.
“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, and that it responds appropriately to the Human Rights Council’s request contained in resolution 31/36,” she said, referring to the council resolution that asked for the report.