Pompeo promises to protect US businesses in Israeli-controlled West Bank

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday put United Nations member states on notice against punishing American companies operating in the Israeli-controlled West Bank.

Six U.S. companies were among the 100 businesses identified in a report published last month by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report cited potential implications on the “civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.” 

No legal action or judicial recommendations against the companies were made in the report, which both Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized as “biased,” “politically motivated” and supporting efforts to boycott Israel.

Pompeo on Monday said the State Department is “urging U.N. members states to join us in repudiating publication of the database and to oppose any expansion of the mandate.”

“The State Department will monitor the reaction of the United Nations and member states closely and will firmly oppose any efforts to use this list against U.S. companies,” he continued.

Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor, Booking Holdings Inc., General Mills and Motorola were the U.S. companies the report identified as operating in “illegal” Israeli settlements.

Pompeo published five points offering support to U.S. companies operating in Israeli-controlled territory in the West Bank and rejected any authority of the United Nations body “to dictate to U.S. companies where they can and cannot do business.”

“The United States Government denounces efforts by any states or international organizations to downgrade ties with U.S. companies as a result of being listed in the database,” he added.

The State Department offered assistance to companies identified in the report if they are the targets of “attempts to intimidate or harass it.”

“We share our companies’ frustration with the decision to create and release this database,” Pompeo said in the statement. “The United States will not tolerate the reckless mistreatment of U.S. companies, and will respond to actions harmful to our business community.”

In November, Pompeo announced that the State Department would no longer view Israeli settlements as “per se, inconsistent with international law.”

The United Nations considers Israeli communities in the West Bank as illegal under international law, and European countries have pursued efforts to legislate labeling and identifying Israeli products made in settlements. Most recently, the European Court of Justice in November ruled in favor of labeling Israeli settlement products as originating outside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders.

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