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Pompeo Blasts UN Over List of Firms Doing Business in West Bank Settlements

FILE - This Jan. 26, 2020, photo shows a view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Mitzpe Yeriho. The United Nations Human Rights Council released a list of more than 100 companies it says are operating in Israel's West Bank settlements.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed anger over the United Nations' disclosure of a list of companies it says are conducting business in Israel’s West bank settlements, considered a violation of international law by most of the global community.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday it found 112 businesses with activities in Israeli settlements, including 94 headquartered in Israel and 18 in the U.S. and other countries.

The U.N. Human Rights Council ordered OHCHR in 2016 to create a list of companies considered to be supportive of the settlements over U.S. objections.

"I am outraged that High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet published a database of companies operating in Israeli-controlled territories,” Pompeo declared in a statement Thursday.

FILE - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 19, 2019.
FILE - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 19, 2019.

Pompeo said the list was “mandated by the discredited U.N. Human Rights Council,” and that it “only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations.”

The top U.S. diplomat vowed the U.S. will “never” provide information to help OHCHR compile such lists and called on “U.N. member states to join us in rejecting this effort.”

Israel, which contends the settlements are on disputed territory, fears the list could lead to boycotts of the companies that include Airbnb, Motorola, General Mills and other large international firms. Some other companies on the list are headquartered in France, Britain, the Netherlands and Thailand.

While Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said disclosure of the list is a “shameful surrender” to adversaries of Israel, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said the list is a victory for international law.

Israel seized control of the West Bank in a 1967 war. Palestinians view the settlements and the military troops who protect the territory as obstacles to the creation of a Palestinian state.