UN council approves database of Israel settlement trading partners

Julie Wiener

Jewish winemakers inspecting grapes at a winery in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion, Sept. 8, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

Jewish winemakers inspecting grapes at a winery in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion, Sept. 8, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash 90)

(JTA) — The United Nations Human Rights Council approved the creation of a database of companies that do business in areas under Israeli occupation.

The resolution passed with no votes against on Thursday; 32 nations voted in favor and 15 abstained.

The database will include companies operating in eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as those in Jewish settlements of the West Bank, the Times of Israel reported.

Israel annexed Jerusalem shortly after the Six-Day War of 1967, a move the international community never recognized.

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The database proposal, introduced by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states, also condemns Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and calls on companies not to do business with them. European Union nations opposed the creation of the database but abstained in the vote, according to the Times of Israel.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said “the fact that the states closest to Israel didn’t oppose the decision about settlements” represented “a dramatic diplomatic failure” on Israel’s part, the Times of Israel reported.

The vote had been delayed by American and European diplomats’ efforts to soften the proposal’s language, including a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Thursday evening that the Human Rights Council “has turned into an anti-Israel circus, which attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the blatant violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”

“The absurd thing is that instead of dealing with Palestinian terrorist attacks and Islamic State attacks in Europe, [the Human Rights Council] decides to condemn Israel,” he added. “Israel calls upon responsible governments not to respect the decisions of the council which denigrate Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, slammed the move in a statement Thursday.

“The Human Rights Council has turned into an accomplice of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, and its conduct is both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic,” he said.

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