Human Rights Watch calls for sanctions against Israel over settlements

Human Rights Watch in this ground-breaking report, titled “Occupation, Inc.,” not only proves that doing business with or in Israel’s colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, amounts to complicity in violating international law and in entrenching Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and racism. It actually calls for sanctions!

Arguably the most far-reaching recommendation in the report is cutting aid to Israel by an amount equivalent to what Israel spends on settlements. This puts to shame the mediocre EU measures against settlements which magically punish the crime, not the criminal.

The ridiculous EU policy of “labeling” Israeli settlement products instead of banning them as illegal looks even more laughable in light of this HRW report.

Doing away with EU hypocrisy and utter bias in dealing with Israel’s regime of oppression, HRW recognizes in this report that it is precisely Israel that is legally responsible for building, maintaining, servicing and growing the illegal colonies, so Israel should be held accountable for this crime.

Though HRW does not endorse BDS or call for a boycott against Israel or companies profiting from its violations of international law, it actually calls for something quite radical: sanctions against Israel.

Human Rights Watch urges states to “avoid offsetting the costs of Israeli government expenditures on settlements by withholding funding given to the Israeli government in an amount equivalent to its expenditures on settlements and related infrastructure in the West Bank.”

Cutting aid to Israel by billions of dollars (the amount it spends on the occupation enterprise, including settlements) would be the most radical sanction yet if implemented.

That certainly sounds like sanctions–the “S” in BDS.

This particular HRW recommendation can only be commended as exceptionally courageous given the rise of repression and new McCarthyism in the US against Israel critics, let alone those calling for meaningful sanctions against it.


Omar Barghouti


Article was published on Mondoweiss