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Professor Eugene Kontorovich

As a matter of human rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) focus on Israel is difficult to understand, argues a new Kohelet Policy Forum titled “Who Else Profits II.” There are numerous territories around the world currently under belligerent occupation, where the occupying power has allowed or facilitated the movement of settlers into the occupied territory, the report argues, noting that in all these cases, this is done over the vigorous objection of the occupied party and is at odds with its sovereignty or self-determination.

And yet the UNHRC ignores all of those real violations of international law, focusing its full attention instead on Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria, which were established in an area that had not been taken from a sovereign power.

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Among the most salient examples are Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Turkey’s of northern Cyprus. Both of these have seen massive government-backed settlement enterprises that dwarf anything in Judea and Samaria. The majority of the population in these territories now consists of settlers, fundamentally undermining the possibility of self-determination or a political solution.

There are also settlers in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the Occupied Ukrainian Territories. In all these cases, foreign companies actively support the various settlement enterprises. These activities include extracting natural resources from the territories, providing infrastructure support to the occupying power, and in general, making the settlement enterprises more economically viable.

The report was presented on Monday by its author and Director of International Law at the Kohelet Policy Forum and Professor of International Law at the George Mason University, Eugene Kontorovich, in the presence of Deputy Minister of Diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren.

Oren commended the “courageous work” done by the Kohelet Policy Forum and stated: “This treatment isn’t being handed out to any other country in the world, which means its inherently anti-Semitic.”

Professor Kontorovich presented the paper in depth, highlighting how the UNHRC blacklist and Airbnb policy have no legal basis, adding that despite Israel being their target, they will ultimately harm businesses around the world.

“If the UNHRC really believes doing business in what it considers occupied territory as a human rights violation, I challenge them to adopt our report of other companies doing such business in territories around the world, to supplement their blacklist of businesses operating in Jewish communities in the West Bank” said Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Kohelet Policy Forum.

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