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Israel freezes ties with UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet after release of settlement list

Palestinian Authority says it’ll ‘pursue’ companies on UN settlements list

Israel is suspending its ties with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Foreign Ministry announces, several hours after it published a list of 112 companies that do business in West Bank settlements.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz’s office says he ordered the “exceptional and harsh measure” in retaliation to 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 states.

It isn’t immediately clear what practical implications the decision will have.

The Palestinian Authority says it will go after companies that are included on the UN Human Rights Council’s list of firms active in West Bank settlements.

Hailing the publication of the list, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh calls for companies to shutter their operations in the settlements.

“We will pursue the companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and through the courts in their countries for their role in violating human rights,” Shtayyeh is quoted saying by the PA’s official Wafa news agency.

He adds: “We will demand compensation for illegally using our occupied lands and for engaging in economic activity in our lands without submitting to Palestinian laws and paying taxes.”

Shtayyeh also suggests the companies could move to areas controlled by the PA to avoid any potential retribution.
— Raphael Ahren (TOI)

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