The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has announced that 15 business entities, including the US food giant General Mills, have been taken off a list of companies operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The list, which was first published in 2020 and has been widely criticized by the Israeli occupation and the US, identifies businesses that are involved in activities such as supplying equipment or services to the settlements, exploiting natural resources, or providing security or surveillance services.
The High Commissioner’s office said that the 15 companies were removed because they had either ceased or were no longer involved in such activities in the occupied Palestinian territory. It added that the list was meant to be a tool for constructive engagement and compliance with international human rights law.
General Mills, which owns brands such as Honey Nut Cheerios and Haagen-Dazs, had previously announced plans to sell its stake in a factory it managed in partnership with an Israeli investment group in an industrial zone near East Jerusalem last June. However, the company denied that its decision was influenced by politics and said that it continued to sell its products in Israel.
Other companies that were taken off the list include Ashstrom Properties, Darban Investments, and Zorganika, a company that grew dates in the West Bank. More than 100 companies, mostly based in Israel, remain on the list.
The list has been one of the sources of tension between Israel and the UN, which have clashed over several issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier this month, a UN commission of inquiry accused the Israeli occupation of war crimes and suppression of Palestinian civil society during its military operation in Gaza last May. Israel rejected the report as biased and noted that one of the commissioners had expressed antisemitic views in the past.
In December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the legal status of the Palestinian territories after Shabbat began in New York City, which prevented the Israeli occupation from voting.