• Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Palestinians who work in companies such as the UN are blacklisted because they are accused of operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, often hold senior positions and earn up to three times as much as companies in the Palestinian Authority. A potential boycott could lead to them losing their well-paid jobs, writes Ben Dror Yemini in Yediot Ahronoth.

As Infinitum News wrote on Thursday, the United Nations Office on Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday, February 12, published a list of more than 100 companies accused of operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Most of the 112 companies on the list are Israeli – including all the country’s major banks, but there are also large international companies such as Airbnb, Motorola and Trip Advisor on the list.

The list has no legal significance and no direct consequences for the companies mentioned, but the aim is to scare Israeli and international companies from operating in the West Bank. It can cost jobs.

The most important example of this is Soda Stream, which, among other things due to international boycott pressure, moved its factory from the West Bank to close to Rahat in southern Israel, writes Yemini. Hundreds of Palestinians lost their jobs.

The more than 100 companies that have ended up on the UN blacklist may end up in a similar situation, where they are exposed to international pressure and boycott.

The BDS movement, boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel, have already begun to blacklist companies on the UN list and have called for a boycott.

“The industrial areas in the West Bank employ almost 20,000 Palestinian workers. No one is being exploited or abused “, writes Yemini about the thousands of Palestinians who work in the blacklisted companies.

In the Barkan industrial park in the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli workplaces. (Photo: Twitter)

The truth is that many of the Palestinians who work in the companies UN now have blacklisted have good salaries and important job functions. Very few of them want to replace their Israeli employer with a Palestinian one. Boycott of UN blacklist companies could hit thousands of Palestinian jobs.

Israeli supermarket chain Rami Levi is blacklisted. The company is known for peaceful coexistence between Palestinian and Israeli colleagues. Not only are they an important contribution to building bridges between people, but good wages are also an important contribution to the Palestinian economy.

The income from Palestinians in Israeli jobs in the West Bank is an important part of the Palestinian economy and if the money disappears, it will have serious consequences for the Palestinian economy, Yemini writes.

The BDS movement saw the relocation of the SodaStream factory as a major victory despite it costing hundreds of Palestinians their jobs.

The companies on the blacklist may find that it has consequences for them, but it is first and foremost their Palestinian employees who will pay the price.

“If and when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ends, industrial areas with Israeli companies in the West Bank will be absolutely necessary to secure enough jobs,” Yemini argued in his comment.

For the BDS movement, the UN blacklist was a victory, but not for the Palestinians.

“It can be said that the BDS achieved a victory, but the symbolic victory will come with a price – and it is the Palestinian workers who will pay”.

Journalist and author Ben-Dror Yemini believes the blacklist primarily affects Palestinians. (Photo: Tor-Bjørn Nordgaard)

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