Published: Sat, February 15, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Amazon forcing Palestinians to list themselves as Israelis for free shipping

Amazon forcing Palestinians to list themselves as Israelis for free shipping

Despite objections by the United States in 2016, the UNHRC instructed the UN Human Rights Office to create an anti-Semitic "database" of firms linked to or in any way "supportive" of Jewish communities in post-1967 territories, which are considered illegal by many in the worldwide community.

It said it had reasonable grounds to conclude that the firms have ties with Israeli settlements.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman, who sit on the Finance Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, called the United Nations report an "anti-Israel database, akin to a blacklist, of companies" that made major USA companies, including General Mills and Airbnb vulnerable to boycotts.

About 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

"Those who boycott us will be boycotted themselves", Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the report a "shameful capitulation" to anti-Israel groups.

Washington unveiled its "Deal of the Century" peace plan last month, with the proposal recognizing Tel Aviv's claims to sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and recognizing Jerusalem as the country's capital.

His Mideast plan calls for allowing Israel to keep all of its settlements, and following its publication, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex the settlements and large chunks of the West Bank.

"The U.N. Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has officially made a decision to endorse anti-Semitic BDS by issuing a defamatory list of companies it claims are supposedly involved in 'settlement activity, '" said Anne Herzberg, legal adviser for NGO Monitor, an Israeli advocacy group that is highly critical of the U.N.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates a wide-ranging embargo of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, welcomed the list.

Other businesses listed for inclusion in a database included travel firms and a steel producer. Almost 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 in east Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement in response to the United Nations move in which he slammed the UNHRC as "unimportant" and vowed to fight back against the initiative.

"The Kingdom appreciate the efforts of President Trump's Administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and Israeli sides; and encourages the start of direct peace negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States", Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said in a statement on January 28.

The list's publication after repeated delays escalated a looming showdown between Israel and the global community over its more than half-century policy of building settlements in the West Bank.

The process of creating the database was quite lengthy - the idea of it was initially floated back in 2017, when the inclusion of over 200 companies was hinted at, though the finished document lists a little over half this number.

"The UN Human Rights Council is a biased and uninfluential body".

His domestic rival, Benny Gantz, head of the main Israeli opposition party, Blue and White, also rebuked the report.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released the database on February 12, 2020.

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