UK: Doing business in 'occupied territories' entails 'legal risks'
New document issued by UK Trade and Industry Ministry aims to "provide information on key security, political risks UK businesses may face when operating in Occupied Palestinian Territories,' which UK government calls 'illegal' according to international law
Two months ago the British government issued a document detailing the risks of doing business nations with problematic human rights records. Ynet has learned that last week the government published a follow up document, focusing entirely on Israel and companies doing business either directly or indirectly beyond the Green Line.
- Ireland: Israeli products marked with yellow sticker
- US university cuts ties with Palestinian school
- EU lawmakers urge rethink of settlement boycott
The report aims to "provide information on key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
In a subchapter dedicated to Israel's West Bank police, the report reads: “The UK has a clear position on Israeli settlements: The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. "
Regarding the legality of settlements, the report goes on to say that "Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible."
The UK report goes on to promise that "We will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties,” the warning reads.
“EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals,” warns the Overseas Business Risk Report reads.
Deeply committed to trade with IsraelThe warning then goes on to describe what seems like a settlement boycott: "There are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity.
"Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements are built on occupied land and are not recognized as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory.
"Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice."
However, the report does note “The UK Government is deeply committed to promoting our trade and business ties with Israel and strongly opposes boycotts.” Thus, the damning report also takes into account “the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” and proceeds to describe the manner settlement produced products can be marked and found.
An official involved in the reports formulation told Ynet that the document does not forbid business transactions with settlements and is only intended to serve as a warning sign for those wishing to do so. He expressed hope that the document's publication would motivate companies doing business beyond the Green Line to stop doing so.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop