Scottish Government must ban companies complicit in Israel’s illegal settlements from accessing public cash

The UN has published a list of 97 companies it identified as being linked to Israeli building programmes in the West bank.

The Scottish Government must ban companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine from receiving public contracts and grants, says the Scottish Greens’ external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer MSP.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has published a list of 97 companies that it has identified as linked to Israeli building programmes in the West Bank, land which is internationally recognised as Palestinian but large parts of which are occupied by illegal Israeli settlers, often after being violently seized from Palestinian residents.

Since the Hamas terror attacks in Israel on 7th October over 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank.

In 2021, following calls from the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Government acknowledged that multiple companies on the list were in receipt of public funds & contracts. Then Minister for Trade Ivan McKee committed to write to all companies named by the UN to express the Government’s concerns and asked Scottish public bodies to report any existing relationships with the identified companies.

However, Scottish Government procurement and grants policies still do not bar these companies from receiving support. This is in contrast to the Government’s tough position on companies complicit in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Greer said:

“The Scottish Government has very limited powers over foreign affairs, but the money it has already given to support civilians in Gaza will be life-saving and the First Minister has been recognised internationally for his leadership in calling for a ceasefire. We must ensure though that Scotland’s public sector is not complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

“The immoral and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a terrible injustice, and one of the biggest roadblocks to peace. They embody the apartheid, violence and abuse that millions of Palestinians are forced to endure every day.

“The UN has published a list of shame of almost 100 companies who are complicit through their activities in the illegal settlements. These companies directly profit from the pain of Palestinians.

“We must ensure that every company named by the United Nations is banned from receiving public contracts, business grants or any other form of public sector support in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has shown moral and political leadership in calling for an end to the bombing of Gaza. Now it must ensure that it is not giving any grants or financial support to companies that are enabling or profiting from the repression of Palestinians.”