You Are Here: Home » News » Richard Falk: UN Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967

Richard Falk: UN Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967

United Nations A/67/379
General Assembly Distr.: General
19 September 2012
Original: English
12-51586 (E) 181012

Sixty-seventh session

Item 70 (c) of the provisional agenda*,**

Promotion and protection of human rights:
human rights situations and reports of
special rapporteurs and representatives

Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories
occupied since 1967

Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the
General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, submitted in
accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967


The present report addresses Israel’s compliance with its obligations under
international law in relation to its occupation of Palestinian territory. The Special
Rapporteur focuses particular attention on the legal responsibility of business
enterprises, corporations and non-State actors involved in activities relating to
Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.




    I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

II. Working methodology for the present report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . … 4
   III. General situation of settlements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   IV. Legal framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

        A. General: human rights law and international humanitarian law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ………6

B. Human rights and international humanitarian law obligations and principles relevant to
private corporations in the occupied Palestinian territory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

 V. Case studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
 VI. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
VII. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

I. Land allocated to Israeli settlements, January 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
II. The humanitarian impact of Israeli settlement policies, January 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27


I. Introduction

1. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian
territories occupied since 1967 reiterates his request to the Government of Israel to
cooperate with his efforts to implement his mandate from the United Nations. Such
cooperation is a fundamental legal obligation incident to membership in the
Organization and ensures that the Special Rapporteur can constructively engage
with the Government of Israel, victims, witnesses and civil society actors relevant to
his mandate.

2. Article 104 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the Organization
shall enjoy in the territory of each of its Members such legal capacity as may be
necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes. Article
105, paragraph 2, specifies that those who represent the United Nations shall enjoy
in the territory of States Members such privileges and immunities as are necessary
for the independent exercise of their functions in connection with the Organization.
These provisions were elaborated in the Convention on the Privileges and
Immunities of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly on 13 February
1946. Article VI, section 22, thereof, entitled “Experts on missions for the United
Nations”, is particularly relevant, setting forth the duties of Members to cooperate
with such representatives as Special Rapporteurs and to avoid interfering with their

3. It should be noted that the Government of Israel has not cooperated with many
other important initiatives of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council
relating to the occupied Palestinian territory. This includes the United Nations Fact-
Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, the Committee of Independent Experts to
follow up on the fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, the Independent
International Fact-Finding Mission on the Incident of the Humanitarian Flotilla, the
Beit Hanoun fact-finding mission, the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon, and the
Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of
the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. This pattern of
non-cooperation with official undertakings of the General Assembly and the Human
Rights Council should produce a concerted effort by Member States, the General
Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretary-General to obtain the cooperation
of the Government of Israel.

4. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian
territories occupied since 1967 conducted research for this report on the basis of the
foundational principle that business enterprises must respect international
humanitarian law and should respect human rights. They should avoid infringing on
the human rights of those living under occupation and address adverse human rights
impacts with which they are involved.(1) The Special Rapporteur would welcome
engagement with the Government of Israel, and companies and corporations
operating within or in relation to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian
territory, regarding the issues raised in this report.

5. The Special Rapporteur calls attention to the grave circumstances of the
Palestinian people, living under prolonged occupation and with no realistic prospect
of its termination in the near future, and under these conditions the United Nation

has a great responsibility to do all that can be done to avoid the economic, political
and cultural exploitation of the Palestinian people, as well as their endowment of
natural resources.


II. Working methodology for the present report

6. Taking account of the Special Rapporteur’s repeated unsuccessful requests to
the Government of Israel to be allowed access to the occupied Palestinian territory,
the present report is based on information requested and received from civil society
actors, United Nations agencies, companies and corporations, non-State entities, and
other stakeholders, in particular those with expertise concerning the involvement of
business enterprises in the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements. The
Special Rapporteur highlights selected individual companies that operate, conduct
business or otherwise profit from Israeli settlements located in the occupied
Palestinian territory. The Special Rapporteur makes recommendations to seek to
ensure that businesses operating in relation to Israeli settlements take prompt action
to bring their activities into line with relevant international law and related rules and
standards, including international human rights law. The Special Rapporteur notes
that, since the preparation of the present report, he has brought its content to the
attention of the businesses discussed herein. The Special Rapporteur is requesting
clarification and further information regarding the allegations contained in this
report, especially with a view to pursuing the prompt implementation of his


III. General situation of settlements

7. From 1967 to 2010 Israel established an estimated 150 settlements in the West
Bank. In addition, there are an estimated 100 “outposts”, settlements built without
official Israeli authorization but with the protection, infrastructural support and
financial help of the Government of Israel. Such “outposts” are recently the subject
of Government of Israel processes and discussions regarding their potential
legalization under Israeli law. This is a serious escalation of the settlement agenda
that is inconsistent with Israeli political rhetoric supporting negotiations to establish
a viable, independent, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian State.

8. There are also 12 settlements in Jerusalem that were established, with
Government funding and assistance, on land unlawfully annexed by Israel and made
part of the city. Settlements control over 40 per cent of the West Bank, including
critical agricultural and water resources. Many settlements are extensively
developed, comprising large gated communities or small cities. Israel does not allow
Palestinians to enter or use these lands, except those with permits to work.

9. The population of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory is
between 500,000 and 650,000. Approximately 200,000 of these settlers live in East
Jerusalem. Statistics indicate that the settler population (excluding that of East
Jerusalem) has, over the past decade, grown at an average yearly rate of 5.3 per
cent, compared to 1.8 per cent in the Israeli population as whole. In the past
12 months this population increased by 15,579 persons. The Israeli Government
offers settlers benefits and incentives relating to construction, housing, education,
industry, agriculture and tourism, exclusive roads, and privileged access to Israel.
The effort Israel has expended in the settlement enterprise — financially, legally and
bureaucratically — has turned many settlements into affluent enclaves for Israeli
citizens within an area where Palestinians live under military rule and in conditions
of widespread poverty.

10. This financial, legal and bureaucratic help in settlement areas is providing
settlers with privileges they would not be afforded as Israeli citizens living in Israeli
territory. Such privileges provide a telling juxtaposition to the large protests that
occurred in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa in 2011, involving hundreds of thousands
of Israelis who freely assembled to demand social justice, lower living costs and a
Government response to the economic distress that Israeli middle classes are

11. The establishment of the settlements is a flagrant violation of international
humanitarian law as set forth in the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) and the Regulations
annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention prohibits an Occupying Power from transferring citizens from its own
territory to the occupied territory. The Hague Regulations prohibit an Occupying
Power from undertaking permanent changes in the occupied area unless justified by
military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the
benefit of the local population.

12. In building settlements and associated infrastructure, Israel further violates
international law through the appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by
military necessity, and by imposing severe movement restrictions on Palestinians.
Such restrictions violate those human rights dependent on freedom of movement,
including rights to health, education, family life, work and worship. In addition, the
scale of Israel’s settlement project and the massive financial investment in it appear
to confirm Israel’s intention to retain control over these areas, thus violating a core
principle of the Charter of the United Nations, namely Article 2 (4), which prohibits
the acquisition of territory by the use or threat of force. Moreover, the settlements
fragment the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, into isolated geographical units,
severely limiting the possibility of a contiguous territory and the ability to dispose
freely of natural resources, both of which are required for the meaningful exercise
of the fundamental and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to selfdetermination.

13. Israel has created a regime of separation and discrimination, with two separate
systems of law in Palestinian territory: one system applies to the settlers, and treats
the settlements as de facto extensions of Israel and grants settlers the rights of
citizens with the protections of a quasi-democratic State. In contrast, the
Palestinians are subject to a system of military administration that deprives them of
legal protection and the right to participate in shaping policies regarding the land in
which they live. These separate systems reinforce a regime in which rights depend
on national identity and citizenship. A dual system of roads, one for settlers and one
for Palestinians, further entrenches the discriminatory separation between the two

14. The wall in the West Bank is one of the most prominent aspects of the
settlement enterprise. Much of the route of the wall is placed inside the West Bank,
and takes into account the further expansionist designs of settler communities.
Access restrictions to Palestinian farmland in the vicinity of Israeli settlements
located on the eastern side of the wall are widespread. While in some cases the
restricted areas are unilaterally established and enforced by the settlers, in other
cases the Israeli military erects fences around settlements and declares the area a
“Special Security Area”. In its near unanimous (14 to 1) advisory opinion of 2004,
the International Court of Justice unequivocally declared that the separation wall
violated international law, should be dismantled and Palestinians compensated for
harm experienced.

15. In Area C, comprising 60 per cent of the West Bank, the zoning regime applied
by Israel further benefits the establishment and growth of settlements, while denying
the development of Palestinian communities. The zoning regime effectively
prohibits Palestinian construction in some 70 per cent of Area C, or approximately
44 per cent of the West Bank. In the remaining 30 per cent a range of restrictions
makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain a building permit. In
practice, Israeli authorities allow Palestinian construction only within the
boundaries of an Israeli-approved plan, which covers less than 1 per cent of Area C.
As a result, Palestinians are left with no choice but to build “illegally”, which leads
to inhumane Israeli responses involving demolition and displacement.

16. Since East Jerusalem was purportedly annexed by Israel, the Government of
Israel has created demographic and geographic conditions designed to thwart peace
proposals designating Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Israel has sought to
increase the Israeli population and reduce the number of Palestinians in the city.
Israel has employed the following methods: physically isolating East Jerusalem
from the rest of the West Bank in part by building the wall; discriminating in land
expropriation, planning and building, and demolition of houses; revoking residency
and social benefits of Palestinians; and inequitably disbursing the municipal budget
between the two parts of the city. The forced eviction of Palestinians from their
homes by settlers backed by the Government has contributed to changing the
demography of the city. Palestinians have lost their homes and many more remain at
constant risk of forced eviction, dispossession and displacement. The Government
supports the settlers’ actions by, inter alia, allocating private security guards;
sending security forces to accompany the takeover of Palestinian homes; and
funding Israeli development projects in the Jerusalem settlements.


IV. Legal framework

A. General: human rights law and international humanitarian law

17. Israel is a State party to most core international human rights conventions, and
reports regularly to the relevant human rights treaty bodies.(2) A situation of armed
conflict or occupation does not release a State from its human rights obligations.
The International Court of Justice, human rights treaty bodies, successive United
Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights and special procedures of the
Commission on Human Rights and its successor, the Human Rights Council, have
consistently confirmed that international human rights law and international
humanitarian law apply concurrently throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.

18. Israel is bound by international humanitarian law found in the treaties it has
ratified, as well as in customary international law. Notably, in the occupied
Palestinian territory Israel is bound by the provisions of international law specific to
occupied territories. The rules of international humanitarian law regarding military
occupation, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention)(3) and the Regulations
annexed to the Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land
of 1907,(4) must be applied by Israel, as the Occupying Power, in the West Bank,
including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Although Israel has argued against the
formal application of the Geneva Convention, and agreed only to apply the
“humanitarian” provisions as determined by itself, the situation remains one of
belligerent military occupation, as recognized by the Security Council, the General
Assembly and the Human Rights Council and most conclusively by the International
Court of Justice in its 2004 advisory opinion on the wall. In addition to the
applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, which are
accepted as customary international law, apply.(5)

19. The Government of Israel, as the Occupying Power, is duty-bound to respect
and implement human rights and international humanitarian law obligations in the
occupied Palestinian territory. Israel also has an obligation to ensure that private
businesses operating in the occupied Palestinian territory are held accountable for
any activities that have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian

B. Human rights and international humanitarian law obligations and
principles relevant to private corporations in the occupied
Palestinian territory

1. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

20. On 16 June 2011 the Human Rights Council in its resolution 17/4 unanimously
endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (6) for implementing
the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, providing — for the
first time — a global standard for upholding human rights in relation to business
activity. The Guiding Principles were prepared by the former Special Representative
of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other
business enterprises, Professor John Ruggie. They provide authoritative normative
guidance, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of business enterprises with regard
to human rights, and the necessary legal and policy measures to be taken by States
arising from their existing human rights obligations to ensure respect for human
rights. It is the first normative document on business and human rights to be
endorsed by an intergovernmental human rights body.

21. The Guiding Principles highlight the steps States should take to foster respect for
human rights by businesses. They provide a framework in which companies should
demonstrate that they respect human rights and reduce the risk of abuses. They also
constitute a set of benchmarks by which to assess business respect for human rights. The
Guiding Principles are organized under the Framework’s three pillars:
(a) The State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties,
including business enterprises, through policies, regulation and adjudication;
(b) The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means that
business enterprises should act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights
of others and to address the adverse impacts with which they are involved;
(c) The need for greater access to remedy for victims of business-related
abuse, both judicial and non-judicial.

22. The Guiding Principles provide concrete and practical recommendations to
implement the Framework. The Guiding Principles do not create new international
law obligations, but constitute a clarification and elaboration of the implications of
existing standards, including under international human rights law, and practices, for
both States and business enterprises, integrating them within a coherent
framework.(7) In addition to forming part of States’ existing international human
rights obligations, important elements of the Guiding Principles are also
increasingly reflected in national laws, and in global, regional and industry-specific
soft law standards and initiatives as well as contractual obligations.

23. Companies can have an impact on all human rights depending on the situation
and context of their activities; therefore it is essential that they put in place an
effective ongoing human rights due diligence process to assess risks and the
potential and actual impact of their activities on human rights, integrate and act on
the findings of such assessments, track the effectiveness of their response and
communicate on both the assessments and the response. This is in addition to
business enterprises expressing a clear public commitment to meeting their
responsibility to respect human rights, and to providing for or cooperating with the
remediation of any adverse effects that they have caused or contributed to.

24. Human rights may be at heightened risk and should therefore receive greater
attention in particular industries and contexts, including humanitarian situations, but
businesses should in all cases be encouraged to have a periodic review to assess all
human rights affected by their activity. International human rights standards,
including the International Bill of Human Rights (8) and the eight core conventions of
the International Labour Organization (ILO), as set out in the ILO Declaration on
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work all act as an authoritative list against
which to assess the human rights impacts of business enterprises. Impact
assessments should also consider, depending on circumstances, additional standards,
for instance, relating to the rights of indigenous peoples; women; national or ethnic,
religious and linguistic minorities; children; persons with disabilities; and migrant
workers and their families, wherever appropriate. Business enterprises should
respect the standards of international humanitarian law whenever they operate in a
situation of armed conflict. States should exercise even greater oversight with regard
to businesses enterprises that they own or control.

25. The Guiding Principles are leading to a convergence of global standards and
initiatives on business and human rights, as evidenced in reports of the Working
Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other
business enterprises and the former Special Representative of the Secretary-
General.(9) Examples of regional initiatives include: (a) the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) has included a chapter on human rights in its
guidance on corporate responsibility, which is aligned with the United Nations
“Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework on which the Guiding Principles are
based; (b) the European Commission has issued a communication on corporate
social responsibility expressing its expectation that all enterprises should meet
human rights responsibility as defined in the Guiding Principles.(10) It has also stated
its intention to publish periodic progress reports on the implementation of the
Guiding Principles within the European Union and invited European Union member
States to develop national plans for the implementation of the Guiding Principles by
the end of 2012;(11) (c) the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has
announced that the first thematic study by the new Intergovernmental Commission
on Human Rights would focus on business and human rights in a manner that is
fully compliant with the Guiding Principles;(12) and (d) the Guidelines for
Multinational Enterprises of the Organization for Economic Development and
Cooperation (OECD), as updated in 2011, are now fully aligned with the corporate
responsibility to respect human rights as set out in the Guiding Principles.

2. The Global Compact
26. The Global Compact (13) is the leading global voluntary initiative for corporate
social responsibility that also addresses the issue of business and human rights. It
was launched at the initiative of the Secretary-General in 2000, aimed at persuading
business leaders to voluntarily promote and apply within their corporate domains
10 principles relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment and
anti-corruption. Seven United Nations bodies work in a continuing partnership with
the Secretary-General’s Global Compact Office, namely, the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs
and Crime, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations
Environment Programme, UN-Women, the International Labour Organization and
the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The Global Compact has
stated that the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide the
content of the first principle of the Global Compact and thus form part of the
commitment undertaken by some 8,700 corporate participants in the Global
Compact (14) from over 130 countries.

 27. Overall, the Global Compact pursues two complementary objectives:

a) To mainstream the 10 principles in business activities around the world;

(b) To catalyse actions in support of broader United Nations goals, including
the Millennium Development Goals. The 10 universally accepted principles address
issues related to human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Two of
the principles concerning the observance of human rights are particularly relevant:

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of
internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

28. The Global Compact incorporates a transparency and accountability policy
known as the Communication on Progress. The annual posting of a communication
on progress is an important disclosure of a participant’s commitment to the Global
Compact and its principles. Participating companies are required to follow this
policy, as a commitment to transparency and disclosure is critical to the success of
the initiative. Failure to follow this guideline can result in a downgrade of
participant status and even to possible expulsion.

 29. Following the endorsement of the Guiding Principles by the Human Rights
Council the Global Compact has communicated to its members that the commitment
participating companies undertake with regard to Principle 1 corresponds to the
requirements contained under the corporate responsibility to respect in the Guiding
Principles. The Global Compact is committed to ensuring that all tools and guidance
materials for participating companies on human rights are aligned with the Guiding

3. Businesses operating in situations of armed conflict and occupation

30. In armed conflict, the standards of international humanitarian law apply to
business enterprises as well as to others.(15) International humanitarian law grants
protection to business personnel — provided they do not take part directly in armed
hostilities — as well as to the assets and capital investments of enterprises. It also
imposes obligations on staff not to breach international humanitarian law and
exposes them — and the enterprises themselves — to criminal or civil liability in
the event that they do so. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has
developed guidance on the rights and obligations of business enterprises under
international humanitarian law.(16)

31. Gross human rights abuses involving businesses often occur amid conflict over
the control of territory, resources or a Government, where the mechanisms for
human rights fulfilment and enforcement are not functioning as intended.
Businesses that seek to avoid being complicit in human rights violations are
increasingly seeking guidance from the States in which they operate.

 32. The risks of operating a business in a conflict-affected area can be high and
therefore States should warn organizations of the potential for violating human
rights as a result of business activities. States should review whether their policies,
legislation, regulations and enforcement measures effectively address these
heightened risks, including encouraging businesses to use due diligence to assess
their own situation. Appropriate steps should furthermore be taken to address gaps
identified. This may include exploring civil, administrative or criminal liability for
enterprises domiciled or operating in their territory and/or jurisdiction that commit
or contribute to abuses or violations of international law.

 33. The costs to companies and businesses of failing to respect international
humanitarian law are considerable, including damage to a company’s public image
and impact on shareholder decisions and share price, and could result in employees
being criminally responsible for rights abuses. According to ICRC, “International
humanitarian law states that not only perpetrators, but also their superiors and
accomplices may be held criminally responsible for the commission of war crimes.
Of these forms of commission, complicity is likely to be the most relevant to
business enterprises.”(17)

 34. Immunity from international crimes cannot be sought by employees of
businesses simply because they are operating in the name of a business. Employees
of companies can face investigation and prosecution for human rights violations
committed irrespective of where the violation was committed and thus States have
an obligation to take the appropriate action. ICRC warns that: “Business enterprises
should therefore not discount the possibility of legal proceedings simply because the
country where they are operating is unlikely to conduct criminal investigations or
incapable of doing so. The risk of corporate and individual responsibility for crimes
perpetrated in the context of an armed conflict is thus an element of growing
importance in a business enterprise’s assessment of the range of risks associated
with its activities during an armed conflict.”(18)

35. Civil liability is also increasingly being used as a means to bring human rights
and international humanitarian law abuses committed by corporations to light, and
as a way to provide an effective remedy for victims. At times, companies work with
State actors, including military forces, to secure and/or extract natural resources,
resulting in what has been termed ‘‘joint action”.

36. Doe v. Unocal Corporation is one example where civil action was taken in
relation to serious human rights abuses, such as torture, rape, forced labour and
displacement.(19) In the United States, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (20)
applied a complicity theory from criminal law, namely that of aiding and abetting,
and thus ruled that, when combined with the fact that Unocal Corporation had
knowledge of the human rights violations before becoming party to the relevant
venture, there was sufficient evidence to hold Unocal liable. The case of Bil’in
Village Council (21) against the Canadian company Green Park International is a civil
liability case brought to the Canadian court system. The plaintiffs argued that Green
Park International was involved in building and promoting a settlement built on the
land of the people of Bil’in. The Canadian courts accepted the fact that corporations
have obligations to avoid participating, even indirectly, in a breach by Israel of its
obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that the obligations contained
in the Convention do not bind only States parties. However, the superior court
declined to consider the case further, on the basis that Israeli courts provided a more
appropriate forum (forum non conveniens doctrine).(22) In regard to this particular
case, the Special Rapporteur would note the long track record of the Israeli court
system deciding against Palestinian plaintiffs, which results in near total impunity
for the actions of Israel and Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East
Jerusalem. In this context the Special Rapporteur would question the validity of this
particular decision.

V. Case studies

 37. The Special Rapporteur notes that the businesses highlighted in this report
constitute a small portion of a wide range of companies that have linked their
business operations to Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The
Special Rapporteur received a large amount of information from stakeholders
concerning business practices of companies in relation to Israel’s settlements;
further investigations will be made to determine whether those allegations are well
founded and may lead to additional attention in future reports. The businesses
include, inter alia, retailers and supermarket chains, fast food suppliers, wine
producers and products that are often labelled “products of Israel”, but are in reality
produced or extracted from the occupied Palestinian territory. They include small,
medium and large Israeli-owned companies and multinational corporations. The
Special Rapporteur limits coverage to selected illustrative cases; it proved necessary
to exclude a significant amount of reliable information at this stage, owing in
particular to the word limit imposed by the United Nations on this report.

 1. Caterpillar Incorporated

 38. Caterpillar(23) is one of the leading global manufacturers of construction and
mining equipment. It is the world’s largest maker of construction and mining
equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines, and has stated
that it “drives positive and sustainable change on every continent”.(24) Caterpillar’s
worldwide employment was 132,825 at the end of the second quarter of 2012. On
25 July 2012 Caterpillar announced an all-time quarterly record profit per share of
$2.54. Sales and revenues were $17.37 billion, also an all-time record. Profit was
$1.699 billion in the quarter.(25) The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Caterpillar, Doug Oberhelman, noted: “I am very pleased with Caterpillar’s recordbreaking
performance in the second quarter. Our employees, dealers and suppliers
across the globe are doing a superb job of executing our strategy.”

 39. Caterpillar has been publically criticized by various actors, including religious
organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations
mechanisms, for supplying to the Government of Israel equipment, such as
bulldozers and construction apparatus, which is used in the demolition of Palestinian
homes, schools, orchards, olive groves and crops. Amnesty International reported in
2004 on these violations (26) and noted that Caterpillar products are used in the
construction of the wall, which was ruled contrary to international law by the
International Court of Justice. (27) Human Rights Watch has reported periodically on
Caterpillar products being used in human rights abuses, while the NGO War on
Want produced a report that focused solely on Caterpillar’s dealings with the
Government of Israel. (28) Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) World
Socially Responsible Index recently removed Caterpillar from its indexes, (29) stating,
“Caterpillar was removed from several MSCI ESG Indices due to an Environmental,
Social and Governance (ESG) rating downgrade. The company was removed from
the MSCI World ESG Index, the MSCI USA ESG Index and the MSCI USA IMI
ESG Index on March 1, 2012, following the February Index Review”. (30) MSCI
noted: “Caterpillar is involved in a long running controversy regarding the use of its
bulldozers by the Israeli Defense Forces in the occupied Palestinian territories” and
“MSCI ESG Research has assessed this human rights controversy since 2004. This
controversy has been incorporated in the rating since then and, as such, did not
trigger the ratings downgrade in February 2012.” MSCI further stated that the
controversy is accounted for in the community and society rating, which includes an
assessment of company performance on human rights issues and accounts for 10 per
cent of a company’s ESG rating.

 40. On 28 May 2004 the then Special Rapporteur on the right to food wrote to
Caterpillar, highlighting his observations from a recent mission he had undertaken
to the occupied Palestinian territory. (31) The Special Rapporteur on the right to food
noted his concern in regard to the use of armoured bulldozers supplied by
Caterpillar to destroy agricultural farms, greenhouses, ancient olive groves and
agricultural fields planted with crops, as well as numerous Palestinian homes and
sometimes human lives. The Special Rapporteur further noted that the increase in
homelessness and loss of livelihood among the Palestinian people would limit their
access to food, which was enshrined under article 11 of the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The widely publicized death of Rachel
Corrie, a 23-year-old peace activist from the United States of America, on 16 March
2003, highlighted the use of Caterpillar products and brought world attention to the
demolition of Palestinian property. Ms. Corrie was protesting to prevent the
demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza and, despite being dressed in highly
visible bright orange clothing, was killed when the Caterpillar bulldozer ran over
her, fracturing her arms, legs and skull.(32)

 41. Despite numerous reports, statements and advocacy regarding Caterpillar, the
company continues to ignore the human rights implications of its activities in the
occupied Palestinian territory. In recent years the Mission Responsibility through
Investment Committee of the Presbyterian Church attempted to engage with
Caterpillar (33) and noted: “Company officials made it clear that the company took no
responsibility for the use of its products even by its dealers (the only party
considered to be a customer), had no procedure in place for monitoring or ensuring
compliance with Caterpillar’s stated expectations even in a situation with a
documented historic pattern of the equipment being used in human rights violations,
and no desire to develop such a procedure. Further, they indicated that Caterpillar,
although a global company doing business in virtually every country except where
prohibited by U.S. law, had no capacity to evaluate whether particular actions are in
accord with human rights conventions or international humanitarian law.” (34)

 42. Caterpillar has an extensive code of conduct. (35) The company states that: “The
world is continually changing, and so is our business. But one thing that will never
change is our commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards. Our
reputation is one of our greatest assets. Each of us has a responsibility to protect
it — everyday.”(36) Caterpillar’s mission statement further claims that: “When faced
with challenges, how we respond defines us. Our decisions, and ultimately our
actions, tell the world who we are at Caterpillar.”


2. Veolia Environnement

 43. Veolia Environnement is a French multinational company operating in the
water, waste management, and energy and transport sectors. The company was
founded as Compagnie Générale des Eaux on 14 December 1853. (37) In its 2011
Annual and Sustainability Report Veolia reported a 3.1 per cent growth in revenue,
raising its revenue to €29.6 billion. The company employs 331,266 employees
worldwide and operates in 77 countries. (38)

 44. Veolia has a 5 per cent share in the CityPass consortium, through its subsidiary
Connex Israel, which was contracted by Israel to operate the light rail project in
Jerusalem. The light rail is designed to connect the city of Jerusalem with Israel’s
illegal settlements. Veolia owns approximately 80 per cent of Connex Jerusalem, the
company which operates the trains. (39) Furthermore, through its subsidiary company
the Israeli Veolia group, (40) Veolia owns and operates the Tovlan landfill in the
Jordan Valley of the occupied Palestinian territory. The Tovlan landfill is used to
dump Israeli waste from both within Israel and Israeli settlements. Veolia
furthermore operates buses linking Modi’in and Jerusalem via road 443 and thereby
servicing the Israeli settlements of Giva’at Ze’ev and Mevo Horon.

45. In 2011 Veolia released its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
Performance Digest, a document in which the company makes clear that: “Whatever
the geographical context, Veolia Environnement’s activities must be carried out in
compliance with both national standards and the recommendations of international
organizations like the ILO and OECD, in particular as concerns respect for basic
rights, accounting for cultural diversity and protecting the environment.” (41)

 46. Veolia is a member of the Global Compact and highlights the above-mentioned
10 principles in its CSR Performance Digest, including the two human rights related

3. Group4Security

 47. Group4Security (G4S) is a British multinational corporation that provides
security services. G4S specializes in business processes and facilitation where
security and safety risks are considered high. G4S boasts expertise in the assessment
and management of security and safety risks for buildings, infrastructure, materials,
valuables and people. G4S is the largest employer on the London Stock Exchange,
with operations in more than 125 countries and over 657,000 employees. In 2011 the
company reported turnover of £7.5 billion, of which 30 per cent came from
developing markets.

 48. G4S Israel (Hashmira) is the Israel subsidiary of G4S. The company provides
resources and equipment for Israeli checkpoints. The company also provides
security services to businesses in settlements, including security equipment and
personnel to shops and supermarkets in the West Bank settlements of Modi’in Illit,
Ma’ale Adumim and Har Adar and settlement neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem. In
addition, after the company purchased Aminut Moked Artzi, an Israeli private
security company, it took over its entire business operations, which include security
services to businesses in the Barkan industrial zone located near the settlement of
Ariel. (42)

49. In 2002, Lars Nørby Johansen, the then Chief Executive Officer, (43) stated that
the company would withdraw from the West Bank: “In some situations there are
other criteria that we must consider. And to avoid any doubt that Group 4 Falck
[G4S] (44) respects international conventions and human rights, we have decided to
leave the West Bank.” However, security activities have still continued through
Hashmira’s creation of another company, Shalhevet. “The partnership between
Hashmira and Group 4 Falck will not accept new security contracts in the West
Bank. As equal partners in Hashmira however, we must recognize that the Israeli
shareholders strongly feel that they have a responsibility to the Israeli citizens,
which the company has a contract to protect.” (45)

 50. In March 2011 G4S issued a public statement, regarding its operations in
Israeli settlements. (46) The statement included the following: “we have also
concluded that to ensure that our business practices remain in line with our own
Business Ethics Policy, we will aim to exit a number of contracts which involve the
servicing of security equipment at the barrier checkpoints, prisons and police
stations in the West Bank.” (47) The company further concluded: “a number of our
contracts with private enterprises in the area for traditional security and alarm
monitoring services are not discriminatory or controversial and in fact help to
provide safety and security for the general public no matter what their
background” (48) and thus it would not end all operations in Israeli settlements.

 51. G4S has joined the Global Compact Group and when doing so its Chief
Executive Officer, Nick Buckles, stated: “The principles set out in the Compact are
already pretty well embedded in our existing policies, so we thought the time was
right to make a public commitment to this excellent initiative.” He further stated:
“Doing so will give us extra impetus to ensure respect for human rights, the
environment and ethical behaviour are part of everything we do worldwide.”(49)


 4. Dexia Group

 52. The Dexia Group is a European banking group which, in 2011, carried out
activities in the fields of retail and commercial banking, public and wholesale
banking, asset management and investor services. Its parent company, Dexia SA, is
a limited company under Belgian law with its shares listed on Euronext Brussels and
Paris as well as the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. (50)

 53. Dexia Israel Bank Limited is a public company and is traded on the Tel Aviv
Stock Exchange. The Dexia Group is the majority shareholder, with 65 per cent of
its shares. Dexia Israel Bank Limited is based in Tel Aviv and has consistently
provided loans to Israelis living in illegal settlements. (51) Dexia Israel Bank Limited’s
Chief Executive Officer, David Kapah, highlighted which settlements in the
occupied Palestinian territory have received loans: Alfei Menasheh, Elkana, Beit-El,
Beit Aryeh, Giva’at Ze’ev and Kedumim, located in the region of the Jordan Valley,
the Hebron region and Samaria.52 The company has supplied mortgages to a number
of settlements. Through its dealings with the Israeli National Lottery, Dexia Israel
has provided funds for the construction and development of settlements.(53)

 54. The Dexia Group has been a member of the Global Compact Group since
February 2003. According to the Global Compact Group website the Dexia Group
was required to communicate, early in 2012, on progress made by the company in
implementing the standards set by the Group; that communication on progress is
now several months overdue.(54)

5. Ahava

 55. Ahava (55) is an Israeli cosmetics company that manufactures high-end skin care
products from natural resources extracted from the Dead Sea. The company was
created in 1988 and is said to have annual revenue of $142 million. The company is
37 per cent owned by the settlement of Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, 37 per cent owned
by Hamashbir Holdings,(56) 18.5 per cent by Shamrock Holdings (57) and 7.5 per cent
by the settlement of Kibbutz Kalia. Ahava’s manufacturing factory and visitor centre
is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in the Jordan Valley. Ahava
exports products to 32 countries and one special administrative region.(58)

 56. Criticism of Ahava has come from Governments and non-governmental and
civil society organizations alleging that by having ownership of the company the
settler communities are exploiting Palestinian natural resources and that the profits
from these business activities fund and sustain the settlements. Ahava has also been
accused of false advertising and misleading its customers, as it labels its products
“products of Israel”. They are in fact products of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Several European countries have started to take action against Ahava. The
Governments of the Netherlands (59) and the United Kingdom (60) have investigated
Ahava’s misleading labelling of its products. Human rights activists have taken legal
action against the French company Sephora 61for distributing Ahava products.

 57. The report of April 2012 by the Coalition of Women for Peace, entitled
“Ahava, tracking the trade trail of settlement products”, (62) highlights the supply
chain of Ahava’s products and analyses how Palestinian natural resources are being
exploited to the profit of Israeli settlers.

6. Volvo Group

 58. The Volvo Group (63) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks,
buses, construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications and
aerospace components. Volvo also provides financing and other services. Volvo has
about 100,000 employees, production facilities in 20 countries and sales in more than
190 markets. In 2011, Volvo’s sales increased by 17 per cent, to SKr 310,367 million,
compared with SKr 264,749 million in 2010.

59. Volvo equipment and products are used in the demolition of Palestinian homes,
the construction of the wall and the construction of Israeli settlements. Further,
Volvo holds a 27 per cent share in the Israeli company Merkavim, (64) which is a
business that manufactures buses that are used to transport Palestinian political
prisoners from the occupied Palestinian territory to prisons in Israel. The other
73 per cent of Merkavim shares are owned by Mayer’s Cars and Trucks, an Israeli
company that exclusively represents Volvo in Israel.

 60. In July 2007, the Volvo Vice President for Media Relations and Corporate
News, Mårten Wikforss, responded (65) to criticism relating to the demolition of a
Palestinian home in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. (66) Mr. Wikforss stated: “It is, of
course, regrettable and sad if our products are used for destructive purposes. We do
not condone such actions, but we do not have any control over the use of our
products, other than to affirm in our business activities a Code of Conduct that
decries unethical behaviour. However, just as a wheel loader can be used to clear the
ground for a new house, it can be used to tear it down.” (67) He further stated: “There
is no way Volvo ultimately can control the use of its products … The only
restrictions that apply are when the buyer is a country affected by applicable trade
sanctions decided on by international governmental organizations and implemented
under mandatory law … Like other multinational enterprises, we rely on
governments and certain international governmental organizations to make such

 61. Volvo produces responsibility reports that assess the economic, environmental
and social responsibility of its business activities. Volvo also has a code of conduct
that identifies three areas where Volvo is committed, including respect for human
rights and social issues, environmental care and business ethics. Volvo has been a
member of the Global Compact Group since 2001 and has noted: “Volvo pledges to
realize and integrate 10 principles regarding human rights, work conditions and
environment into its operations. Volvo will also be involved in disseminating the
principles in a bid to encourage other companies to support the Global Compact.” (68)

7. Riwal Holding Group

62. The Riwal Holding Group, established in 1968 and headquartered in the
Netherlands, is an international aerial work platform rental specialist. Riwal
employs 800 people and has operations in 16 countries. It is one of Europe’s leading
companies specialized in the rental and sales of telescopic booms, scissor lifts,
telehandlers, aerial work platforms and other access equipment. Riwal has
operations and joint ventures in Europe, South America, the Middle East and central

 63. In March 2010 the Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq (69) submitted a
criminal complaint to the Netherlands authorities that alleges that Riwal was
complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity, because of the use of its
construction equipment and operations in the building of the wall and Israeli
settlements. (70) The NGO United Civilians for Peace (71) also investigated the activities
of Riwal and urged the company to stop its activities in the occupied Palestinian
territory. In October 2010 Riwal’s offices were raided by the Netherlands National
Crime Squad following such criminal complaints. (72) Riwal has been criticized by
members of the Netherlands Parliament, most notably by the then Minister for
Foreign Affairs, who noted the undesirability of a Netherlands company being
involved the construction of the wall. (73)

8. Elbit Systems

 64. Elbit Systems (74) is an Israeli defence electronics company. It works on
aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers,
intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, unmanned aircraft systems, advanced
electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, airborne warning systems, electronic
signals intelligence, data links and military communications systems and radios. In
2010, the total number of employees worldwide was 12,317 and the annual revenue
was $2,670 million.(75)

 65. In addition to supplying drones and other arms to the Government of Israel,(76)
Elbit has been criticized for its electronic surveillance developed for use on the
wall (77) and its surveillance equipment used in Israeli settlements.(78) In 2009 the
Norwegian Ministry of Defence (79) excluded the company from Norway’s Pension
Fund on the recommendation of the Norwegian Government’s Council of Ethics. (80)
That recommendation was based on the advisory opinion of the International Court
of Justice regarding the wall. The Norwegian Minister of Finance, Kristin
Halvorsen, stated: “We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to
violations of international humanitarian law.” In 2010 the Deutsche Bank and the
Swedish AP funds 81 also sold all their shares in Elbit Systems (82) following the
example of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.(83)

 66. Elbit’s Social Responsibility Full Report states that Elbit Systems is
“committed to being a good corporate citizen and an advocate for social and
environmental responsibility”.(84)


9. Hewlett Packard

 67. Hewlett Packard (HP) (85) is the world’s largest provider of information
technology infrastructure, software and related services. (86) HP is a United States
information technology corporation headquartered in California. (87) In 2011, the
company’s total net revenue was $127,245 million and it employed approximately
349,600 persons worldwide. (88) HP has more than 1 billion customers in 170 different
countries and in 2012 its Fortune 500 ranking was 10. (89)

 68. HP has contracts with the Israeli Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the
Interior to provide a system of surveillance and identification, (90) the “Basel
biometric system”, the Israeli identity card system (biometric identity cards,
implemented by the biometric database law) in settlements and checkpoints,(91) and
to provide services and technologies to the Israeli army. The Basel system is an
automated biometric access control system.(92)

 69. It has been alleged that the technological systems provided by HP have
resulted in human rights violations, such as restricting freedom of movement of
Palestinians. The products provided by HP to the Israeli Government and their use
in violations have been well documented by NGOs such as Who Profits,(93) as has the
humanitarian impact of the wall by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs. (94) HP has also been criticized for providing security and technological
services to the settlements of Modi’in Illit and Ariel.

 70. Nonetheless, in 2010, HP was named one of the world’s most ethical
companies in computer hardware by the Ethisphere Institute. (95) That same year, HP
was number 2 on Newsweek’s 2010 “green rankings” on both the United States 500
and the global 100 greenest companies lists. (96) Since 2002, HP is an active
participant in the Global Compact. (97)

 71. HP states in its corporate responsibility policy “Global Citizenship” (98) that
“everyone is entitled to certain fundamental rights, freedoms, and standards of
treatment. Respecting these human rights is core to HP’s shared values and is part of
the way we do business.” (99) Through the “Global Human Rights Policy” (100) the
company is committed to integrating respect for human rights in its business as well
as “complying with laws and regulations or international standards”.


10. Mehadrin

 72. Mehadrin is one of Israel’s largest agricultural companies. It grows and
exports citrus, fruits and vegetables worldwide. Mehadrin holds 10,341 acres of
orchards and uses 29,452 hectares of orchards owned by external customers.(101)
Mehadrin owns 50 per cent of STM Agricultural Export Limited, which exports
vegetables, and 50 per cent of Mirian Shoham, which exports mangoes. Agrexco,
one of the main agricultural exporters to Europe, was also bought by Mehadrin. The
Mehadrin group also holds subsidiaries in France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the
United Kingdom.

 73. The majority of Mehadrin’s products originate from settlements in the
occupied Palestinian territory but they are labelled as products from Israel.
Furthermore, Mehadrin participates in implementing Israel’s discriminatory water
policies, supplying Israeli farmers with millions of cubic metres of water while
Palestinians are denied sufficient water.(102)

74. Mehadrin states that its concept of quality comprises “environmentally
friendly practices, stringent quality assurance measures, social awareness and
continuous improvement through research and innovation” (103) and that
“transparency is a basic value in Mehadrin and our knowledge and data is openly
shared with our clients”.(104)

11. Motorola Solutions Inc.

 75. Motorola Solutions Inc. is a United States multinational information
technology corporation. It has over 23,000 employees in 65 countries, sales in
100 countries and a total income of $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2012. (105)

 76. Motorola Solutions Israel was the first branch of Motorola outside the United
States and had, in 2010, total revenue of $505 million. The company specializes in
“marketing and selling communication solutions and systems for military and
security forces, emergency and public safety forces, government and public
institutions, and commercial and private entities”. (106)

 77. Motorola Israel provides surveillance systems to Israeli settlements and
checkpoints on the wall. In 2005,(107) it was reported that Motorola Solutions Inc.
provided radar detectors to Israeli settlements in Hebron, Karmei Tzur and Bracha.
The company has allegedly provided a radar detector system named “MotoEagle
Surveillance” and a mobile communication system, the “Mountain Rose”, to Israeli
settlements. Beyond sustaining the settlements, these security systems further limit
the Palestinians’ freedom of movement within their territory.

 78. Motorola Solutions Inc. has an extensive corporate responsibility policy (108)
and has a section of its 2011 annual corporate responsibility report dedicated to
human rights, noting: “Motorola Solutions’ human rights policy is based on our
long-standing key beliefs of uncompromising integrity and constant respect for
people, and is consistent with the core tenets of the International Labour
Organization’s fundamental conventions and the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights”. (109) The company furthermore highlights its
willingness to work with the NGO community as a “key stakeholder” and has a
policy for the implementation of due diligence.

12. Mul-T-Lock/Assa Abloy

 79. Founded in 1973,(110) Mul-T-Lock is an Israeli company. In 2000, Mul-T-Lock
was bought by Assa Abloy, a Swedish company and member of the Global Compact.
Mul-T-Lock describes itself as a “worldwide leader in developing, manufacturing,
marketing and distributing High Security solutions for institutional, commercial,
industrial, residential and automotive applications”.

 80. Mul-T-Lock manufactures locks and security products. It has a manufacturing
plant located in the Barkan industrial zone, which is in the Israeli settlement of

 81. In a joint report the Church of Sweden and the NGOs Diakonia and
SwedWatch highlighted some of Assa Abloy activities and alleged that the company
was complicit in impeding the peace process, since it has invested heavily in its
manufacturing plant, which is built on confiscated Palestinian land.

 82. Assa Abloy reviewed its code of conduct policy in January 2007 to cover
issues such as freedom of association, discrimination, environmental practices and
health and safety aspects. It is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and relevant United Nations conventions, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of
Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the OECD
Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Global Compact and ISO 14001. Assa
Abloy has had a code of conduct policy in place since 2004 and became a member
of the Global Compact in May 2008.

 83. Assa Abloy notes that circumstances may arise that require human rights
perspectives other than those mentioned in the code: “Even if such circumstances
are not common, Assa Abloy is aware of the potential impact on human rights and
acts according to relevant international or local law. If no official guidelines are
available, Assa Abloy will seek other sources so as to choose the best approach
under the specific circumstances.” (112)

13. Cemex

 84. Cemex (113) is a Mexican company and world leader in the building materials
industry. It produces, distributes and sells cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates
 and related building materials. The total amount of annual sales is US$15.1 billion.
The company employs 44,104 worldwide.(114)

 85. Cemex owns Readymix Industries, an Israeli company that owns plants in the
West Bank (Mevo Horon and the Atarot and Mishor Edomim industrial zones) (115)
and has provided elements for the construction of settlements.(116) This company also
provides concrete for the construction of Israel’s wall and military checkpoints in
the West Bank.

 86. Through ReadyMix Idustries, Cemex also owns 50 per cent of Yatir quarry, an
Israeli settlement where Palestinian natural resources are mined to be exploited by
the Israeli construction industry. In 2009, the NGO Yesh-din filed a petition with the
Israeli High Court describing these activities as “colonial exploitation of land” and
“pillage” and asking Israel’s High Court of Justice to intervene. The High Court
decided in December 2011 not to halt these activities, since they employ
Palestinians. However, the court recommended that Israel not open any new quarries
in the West Bank.(117)

 87. Cemex states in its code of ethics (118) that it “must endeavour to enhance our
reputation as a responsible and sustainable company, which helps to attract and
retain employees, customers, suppliers and investors, as well as maintain good
relationships in the communities we operate”.

VI. Conclusion

88. The failure to bring the occupation to an end after 45 years creates an
augmented international responsibility to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian
people, who in practice live without the protection of the rule of law. In this context,
the Special Rapporteur recalls that the General Assembly, as early as 1982, (119) called
on Member States to apply economic sanctions against the State of Israel for its
unlawful settlement activities.

 89. The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require all business
enterprises to respect human rights, which means, in the first instance, avoiding
infringing on the human rights of others and addressing adverse impacts on human
rights. The Special Rapporteur calls on both States and business enterprises to
ensure the full and effective implementation of the Guiding Principles in the context
of business operations relating to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian

 90. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that the businesses highlighted in this report
constitute a small portion of the many companies that engage in profit-making
operations in relation to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The
Special Rapporteur is committed to seeking clarification from and otherwise
following up with the corporations highlighted in this report. At the same time, the
 Special Rapporteur may continue to gather information and report on the
involvement of corporations in Israel’s settlement activities.

 91. The Special Rapporteur further concludes that all companies that operate in or
otherwise have dealings with Israeli settlements should be boycotted, until such time
as they bring their operations fully into line with international human rights
standards and practice. In this regard, civil society efforts to pursue the
implementation of the Guiding Principles establish a distinctive space between
voluntary and obligatory action in the struggle to protect persons vulnerable to
human rights abuse.

VII. Recommendations

92. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Israel to desist from
settling its population in the occupied Palestinian territory and begin the
process of dismantling its settlements and returning its citizens to its own
territory, namely on the Israeli side of the Green Line, in accordance with
international law, numerous Security Council and General Assembly
resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on
the wall.

 93. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Israel to publicly
inform all businesses with operations in or related to its settlements of the
international legal ramifications of such operations, including in relation to
civil liability in third countries.

 94. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Israel to immediately
move forward with reparations to the Palestinian people — whether through
land and monetary compensation or otherwise — in full and transparent
consultation with affected Palestinians, for all activities related to its settlement
enterprise since 1967, also ensuring that land used by businesses is restored to
its condition status quo ante unless improved.

 95. The Special Rapporteur calls on the businesses highlighted in this report,
as a matter of urgency, to take transparent action to comply with the Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Global Compact and relevant
international laws and standards, with respect to their activities connected with
the Government of Israel and its settlements and wall in the occupied
Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. This should include, as a first
step, immediately suspending all operations, including the supply of products
and services, which aid in the establishment or maintenance of Israeli

96. The Special Rapporteur calls on the businesses highlighted in this report,
with respect to companies that are already signed up to the Global Compact, to
be fully aware of the relevant integrity measures, particularly in the case of
allegations of systematic or egregious abuses. (120) Company plans to exit the
occupied Palestinian territory should identify and address any adverse human
rights consequences arising from their exit and from past business activities. 

97. The Special Rapporteur calls on the businesses highlighted in this report,
with respect to any company maintaining its operations in the occupied
Palestinian territory, to conduct heightened due diligence in accordance with
the Guiding Principles and international humanitarian law. Such companies
should be able to demonstrate their own efforts to mitigate any adverse impact
and be prepared to accept any consequences — reputation, financial or legal —
of continuing their operations.

 98. The Special Rapporteur calls on civil society to actively pursue legal and
political redress against non-complying businesses, where necessary in their
own national legal and political frameworks, especially where allegations of
war crimes and crimes against humanity can be substantiated in relation to
settlement activities.

 99. The Special Rapporteur calls on civil society to vigorously pursue
initiatives to boycott, divest and sanction the businesses highlighted in this
report, within their own national contexts, until such time as they bring their
policies and practices into line with international laws and standards, as well as
the Global Compact.

 100. The Special Rapporteur calls on civil society to share resources and
information, including through establishing transnational collaborative
networks and other initiatives, as a way of promoting transparency and
accountability in relation to businesses involved in the Israeli settlement

 101. The Special Rapporteur calls on the international community to
transparently investigate the business activities of companies registered in their
own respective countries, especially those highlighted in this report, that profit
from Israel’s settlements, and take appropriate action to end such practices and
ensure appropriate reparation for affected Palestinians.

 102. The Special Rapporteur calls on the international community to consider
requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice
regarding the responsibility of businesses in relation to economic activities of
settlements that are established in violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva

 103. The Special Rapporteur calls on the international community to urge the
General Assembly to prepare a document linking compliance with Global
Compact guidelines with international human rights law in situations of
belligerent occupation, with attention to moral, political and legal obligations
associated with business operations in the occupied Palestinian territory.



* A/67/150.
** This report is being submitted late in order to take account of significant information received
from interlocutors in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. In this regard, the Special
Rapporteur notes the Government of Israel’s continuing practice of non-cooperation with his
mandate, which impedes him from engaging directly with such interlocutors in the occupied
Palestinian territory.

(1) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (A/HRC/17/31, annex).


(3) United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.
(4) Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, adopted on 18 October 1907;
entered into force on 26 January 1910. See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The
Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press,
(5) See A/HRC/12/37.
(6) A/HRC/17/31, annex.

(7) A/HRC/17/31, para. 14.
(8) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
(9) Uptake of the United Nations framework and the Guiding Principles has been documented by
the Working Group in its first reports to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/20/29) and the
General Assembly (A/67/285), by the Secretary-General in his report to the Human Rights
Council (A/HRC/21/21 and Corr.1) and by the former Special Representative of the Secretary-
General; see
(10) Available from
(12) Remarks by Rafendi Djamin, representativeof Indonesia to the Intergovernmental Commission
on Human Rights of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, at the Asia Pacific Forum of
National Human Rights Institutions Regional Conference on Business and Human Rights, Seoul,
11 to 13 October 2011.
(13) See
(14) Global Compact and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,“The
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Relationship to UN Global Compact
Commitments”, July 2011; available from
(15) See, p. 12.
(16) Business and International Humanitarian Law: An Introduction to the Rights and Obligations of
Business Enterprises under International Humanitarian Law (International Committee of the
Red Cross, 2006). See also Eric Mongelard, “Corporate civil liability for violations of
international humanitarian law”, International Review of the Red Cross, vol. 88. No. 863,
September 2006.
(17), p. 26.
(18) Ibid.
(19), p. 15.
(20) United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Doe v. Unocal Corp., judgement of
18 September 2002.
(21) Bil'in Village Council is the municipal authority over the Palestinian village of Bil’in.
20Release%20V2.pdf, p. 1.
(34), pp. 5-6.
(36), p. 2.
(38),RA_VEOLIA_2011_UK_72dpi.pdf, p. 5.
(39) Who Profits: Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry (

(41),2011-CSR-Performance-Digest.pdf, p. 7.
(43) 2005 Lars Nørby Johansen was succeeded as Chief Executive by Nick Buckles.
(44) In 2004 Securicor merged with Group 4 Falck's security businesses to form Group 4 Securicor
and began trading on the London and Copenhagen Stock Exchanges.

(45) (in Danish).
(47) Ibid.
(48) Ibid.
(51) ( in Hebrew).
(52)/ ( in Hebrew).

(55) and
(57) A multi-million dollar United States-based investment company;
(58) Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan,
Lithuania, Mauritius, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore,
Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Hong Kong,

(67) (full

(75), p. 11.

(86) Annual report 2011, p. 2:
(88) Annual report 2011, p. 23.

(109) Ibid., p. 11.
(112) Assa Abloy Code of Conduct, section 3.9;
(113) Ibid.

(119) Resolution ES-9/1 (5 February 1982); see also resolution 38/180 A (19 December 1983).


Annex I
Land allocated to Israeli settlements, January 2012
Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
12-51586 27
Annex II
The humanitarian impact of Israeli settlement policies, January 2012
Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.



Legal | Contact | © 2012

Scroll to top