Tuesday, 19 January 2016

HRW calls on businesses to withdraw from Israeli settlements

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on Israeli and international businesses to withdraw from Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, saying they "contribute to and benefit from" Israeli violations.

The international rights group said in a statement that Israel's violations of Palestinian rights -- as well as international humanitarian law -- were "intrinsic to abusive, harmful, and longstanding policies in the West Bank."

The sole way for businesses to avoid contributing to this violation of international law would be to completely withdraw their business activity from the occupied Palestinian territory, HRW said.

The statement was issued following the release of a 162-page report on Israeli and international businesses operating in the occupied Palestinian territory, entitled Occupation Inc.

Studies conducted for the report said settlement businesses contributed to rights violations through the labor abuse of Palestinians, development of Israeli Jewish-only infrastructure in the occupied territory, as well as the confiscation and restriction of Palestinian land.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in response to the report that the findings countered statements made by Israeli leadership that settlement businesses “contributed” to the Palestinian economy.

In a statement, Erekat praised the report, but expressed disappointment that it fell short by "failing to call for a complete ban on trade with Israeli settlements." more

Israeli forces defuse explosives on Gaza borderline

Several explosive devices were reportedly located overnight Monday and Tuesday morning by Israeli military forces on the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Israel’s army said.

Israeli forces “uncovered and defused several explosive devices pointed at Israeli territory” during "routine activity adjacent to the security fence,” an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an.

Witnesses in the area said that they had heard explosions near the Gaza border east of Khan Younis in the southern area of the besieged enclave.

The army spokesperson said that initial inquiries indicated the explosive devices had been “planted prior to Operation Protective Edge,” referring to the deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014.

A Palestinian was killed and three others were injured by Israeli artillery fire last week in the northern Gaza Strip after the Israeli army said the four planned to attack forces on the borderline.