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UN Publishes ‘Black List’ of Companies In West Bank

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13 Feb 2020
UN Publishes ‘Black List’ of Companies In West Bank
The United Nations on Wednesday published a so-called “blacklist” of companies which operate in Israeli settlement communities in the West Bank, as well as neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. "Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response, referring in part to the Foreign Ministry’s decision to cease cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet, which had compiled the list.  Netanyahu added in a formal statement on Wednesday that, “The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence. Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it. It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us. In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel. Therefore, this body is unimportant. Instead of the organization dealing with human rights, it only tries to disparage Israel. We strongly reject this contemptible effort.”

Meanwhile, the move was applauded by the Palestinian Authority.

"We will pursue companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and in courts in their countries for taking part in human rights violations in Palestine," PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.

The list has the names of 112 businesses on it, including 94 which are based in Israel and 18 which are based in the US, UK, France, the Netherlands, Thailand and Luxembourg. The companies include major corporations like General Mills and Airbnb, as well as local Israeli companies like the Egged bus service which runs lines between many settlements as well as between them and Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other major Israeli cities.

The OHCHR said that, “while the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them.”

Iranian Official Makes Dark Threats Against Israel
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi issued a warning statement to Israel this week, declaring that "Iran will respond with a crushing response that will cause regret to any aggression or stupid actions of this regime against the interests of our country in Syria and the region…our country will not hesitate for a moment to defend its presence in Syria and defend its national security and regional interests.” The statements come after Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian military targets in Syria over the past several years with hardly any response from Iran of any kind.

"We are constantly working to raise the stakes for Iran until we reach our ultimate goal: removing them from Syria,” Israel Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday. “We will continue to prevent an Iranian presence on our northern border,” Bennett said at Kibbutz Dafna in the Galilee during a ceremony marking the Disaster of the Helicopters that occurred on February 4, 1997.

NATO to Increase Training Missions in Iraq
In response to a request by US President Donald Trump for NATO to increase its contributions towards stability in the Middle East, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in a press conference at NATO’s headquarters on Wednesday that “Allied ministers had reaffirmed their support to Iraq and agreed in principle to enhance NATO's training mission…we are already in Iraq today and we are in consultation on the possibility of scaling up and doing more… all allies supported the decision to do more in Iraq. Together we are committed to fighting terrorism and ensure that Daesh does not come back.”

Laser Defence Against Drones Successfully Tested
Israel-based defence company Rafael announced this week that its new Drone Dome C-UAS system, which uses lasers to shoot down small, moving targets like small UAVs, had a successful series of field tests and is ready to move forward to the next stage of development. “We are entering a new age of energy warfare in the air, on land and at sea," said Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of the Defense Ministry's Directorate of Research and Development. He added that the system was an example of the "weapon of the future."

Explosive Balloon Attacks from Gaza Continue
Despite reports that the Islamist terror militia Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, had agreed to an Egyptian proposal to halt balloon-launched explosives being sent into Israeli territory from the Strip, several more such terror attacks were launched at Israeli communities adjacent to the Strip in recent days. Israeli officials have warned that a strong kinetic response is being prepared if the attacks do not cease.

Today's media is a podcast giving some insights into Chinese military strategy in the Middle East


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