46th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Due to pervasive impunity, Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise continues to expand while Palestinians are forcibly displaced and transferred, with the support of private actors including business enterprises - all in violation of international law. The annual update of the database, as mandated by HRC 31/36, is essential to deter business engagement with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, which constitutes a grave breach under international humanitarian law and a war crime under the Rome Statute.
Our organizations urge the OHCHR to increase transparency regarding the annual update process for the database and to provide a clear timeline for the publication of the 2021 update. It is important that the annual update is comprehensive by adding all businesses with activities and relationships with Israel’s settlement enterprise.
While the world is facing the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel has escalated its illegal demolition of Palestinian homes and properties, hitting a four-year high. House demolitions form part of an institutionalized Israeli policy facilitating the expansion of settlements and de facto annexation. Demolitions have been carried out using equipment provided by companies, among others, JCB and Hyundai.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, Israel has demolished 619 structures, including 262 residential structures, 211 of which were inhabited, resulting in the displacement of 1058 Palestinians, including 524 children.
At the same time, Israel continues to accelerate the expansion of illegal settlements, housing units, and associated infrastructure including transportation, in which Israeli and multinational companies such as the Basque CAF have evidently been involved.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 raised concerns that in the first report of the database “a number of companies with important supply relationships with the settlements and/or the occupation were not included”.
Indeed, businesses continue to play a critical role in sustaining Israel’s illegal settlements and are contributing to and benefiting from Israel’s persistent and systemic violations against the Palestinian people.
We call on Member States to:
Signatories with ECOSOC status
 See B’Tselem, “In pandemic, of all times: Number of Palestinians Israel has left homeless hits four-year record,” 4 November 2020, available at: https://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20201104_number_of_palestinians_israel_left_homeless_hits_four_year_record_in_pandemic.
 Figures provided by Al-Haq’s Monitoring and Documentation Department covering the period from 5 March
2020 until 1 January 2021.