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Palestinians praise UN blacklist of firms linked to Israeli settlements

Palestinian leaders have hailed the United Nations Human Rights Office report, which lists firms linked to illegal Israeli settlements, saying it is a critical step towards boycotting Israeli businesses operating in the occupied West Bank.

The UN body said it identified 112 business entities – 94 based in Israel and 18 in six other countries – which it has reasonable grounds to conclude have ties with Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

It identified companies listed in the United States, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Among these was the US-based home-sharing company, Airbnb.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the findings had been subject to an “extensive and meticulous review process” and the report “reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate”.

Her office said the report “does not provide a legal characterisation of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them”.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called the publication of the list “a victory for international law”.

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