A welcome move

As concerned citizens of Israel, we welcome the publication of the UN database of companies doing business with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. 

The settlements deprive Palestinians of their basic freedoms and block their economic development. They sabotage the possibility of a peaceful two-state solution and thus also threaten the future of Israel itself. 

For 50 years, the international community has avoided almost any diplomatic measures in response to the settlement expansion – in stark contrast to actions taken in many other conflict situations around the world. 

In light of US president Donald Trump’s misguided plan, which lays ground for Israeli annexation of the settlements, it is more important than ever for the international community to draw a line between the State of Israel in its pre-1967 borders and its illegal settlement enterprise. 

Accordingly, the UN database does not entail a boycott of the State of Israel but relates only to the settlements in the occupied territories. 

As people who care sincerely about Israel’s future and wish for our country to live in peace with its neighbors, we applaud UN high commissioner Michelle Bachelet for this step and urge the UN to ensure continued updating of the list. 

Professor Eli Barnavi, former Israeli ambassador to France 

Ilan Baruch, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe 

Professor Michael Ben-Yair, former attorney general of Israel and former acting Supreme Court judge 

Avraham Burg, former speaker of Knesset and former head of the Jewish Agency 

Professor Naomi Chazan, former member and deputy speaker of Knesset; former president of the New Israel Fund 

Professor Itzhak Galnoor, former head of the Israeli Civil Service Commission 

Zehava Galon, former Member of Knesset and former chair of Meretz Party 

Erella Hadar, former Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic 

Dr Ilana Hammerman, Israeli writer and translator 

Professor David Harel, vice president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Israel Prize recipient (2004), EMET Prize recipient (2010) 

Professor Moty Heiblum, EMET Prize recipient (2014), member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 

Professor Yehoshua Kolodny, Israel Prize recipient (2010) 

Miki Kratsman, Emet Prize recipient (2011) 

Alex Levac, Israel Prize recipient (2005) 

Dr Alon Liel, former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa and Turkey 

Mossi Raz, former Member of Knesset 

Michal Rozin, former Member of Knesset 

Professor David Shulman, Emet Prize recipient (2010); Israel Prize recipient (2016); member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 

Professor Zeev Sternhell, Israel Prize recipient (2008); member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

This letter was published 20/2/2020   in the Independent

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