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HRW urges businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements

[JURIST] Settlement businesses contribute to Israel's violations of Palestinian rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a report [text] Tuesday. The report stated that, "it is Human Rights Watch's view that by virtue of doing business in or with settlements or settlement businesses, companies contribute to one or more of these violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. Settlement businesses depend on and benefit from Israel's unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources, and facilitate the functioning and growth of settlements." HRW said that settlement businesses, "facilitate Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law." The group urged the international community to "ensure that any import of settlement goods into their territory is consistent with their duty under international humanitarian law not to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories."

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. In August UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while the family slept. In April HRW alleged [report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws. Last January Germany's top human rights official urged Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories. After a prosecutor for the ICC announced the investigation [JURIST report], Israel's government said that it would not work with the ICC and called for its funding to be cut.

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