Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Wednesday threatened to take international legal action against companies named in a United Nations report on businesses said to have ties to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
After repeated delays, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a list of more than 100 companies it says are operating in the settlements — a first-ever attempt to name and shame businesses that has drawn fierce criticism from Israel and the U.S.
"We demand the companies immediately close their headquarters and branches inside illegal Israeli settlements because their presence contradicts international and UN resolutions," said Shtayyeh in a post on his Facebook page.
"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."
Shtayyeh said Palestinians would also "demand compensation" for what he called "their use of our occupied land illegally."
The list is dominated by Israeli firms, including Hapoalim and Leumi banks, the Bezeq telecom giant and HOT cable and YES satellite companies.
But it also lists a number of international firms, including travel companies Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor, tech giant Motorola, consumer food maker General Mills and construction and infrastructure companies including France’s Egis Rail and British company JC Bamford Excavators.
In its report, the office said the companies’ activities “raised particular human rights concerns.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also hailed the release of the report.
"The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law," said a statement issued Wednesday by al-Maliki's office.
He urged UN member states and the UN Human Rights Council to "issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements."
Israel hit back furiously Wednesday at the publication of the list, accusing the international body of bias and surrendering to anti-Israel elements.
"The UN Human Rights Council is a biased and uninfluential body," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
"Instead of dealing with human rights this body is trying to blacken Israel's name. We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust."
He also took a more pugnacious tone, vowing to "fight this declaration with all our might... When the world recognizes our sovereignty on these regions and settlements, this list will become void."
President Reuven Rivlin said boycotting Israeli companies is not conducive to peace and the building of trust.
"We call on our friends to oppose this shameful initiative," the president said, "I will stand by these businesses that are now under threat."
After the publication of U.S. President Donald Trump's plan for Mideast peace last month, Netanyahu vowed to annex Israel’s more than 100 settlements in the West Bank, but under American pressure, he has put the plan on hold until after March 2 elections.
The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of West Bank settlements in response accused the UN of anti-Israel bias.
"The UN has once again proved it is not a neutral body and is operating against the State of Israel," the Yesha Council said.
"These businesses do more for peace than the UN has done in all the years of its existence."