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Sarah Saadoun – The Human Rights Impact of Businesses Linked to Israeli Settlements

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

4 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

There are now more than half a million Israeli settlers living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem. Successive Israeli governments have facilitated this process, even though settlements are unlawful under international humanitarian law and are part and parcel of Israeli policies that dispossess, discriminate against, and abuse the human rights of Palestinians. But the system is not just propagated by the Israeli government; it also depends on the involvement of a multitude of businesses that operate in the settlements.

A new Human Rights Watch report, Occupation, Inc., examines the human rights impact of these businesses and calls on them to end their settlement-related activities. Using a series of case studies, it describes how such businesses facilitate and sustain unlawful settlements and thereby contribute to a system whose existence and expansion is contingent on the unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and resources. It also describes how such businesses benefit from a two-tiered system of laws, rules, and services that Israel has imposed in the area of West Bank under its exclusive control that encourages the growth of settlements and the settlement economy while stymying Palestinian economic development.

Sarah Saadoun began working in Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division as the Leonard H. Sander fellow in September 2014, soon after graduating from Columbia Law School. She lived in Jerusalem from 2006 to 2010, where she earned a masters in comparative literature from Hebrew University and guided political field trips of East Jerusalem and nearby settlements. After leaving Jerusalem, she spent eight months studying Arabic in Cairo.

Co-sponsored by the International Relations Program, the Security Seminar Series, and the Middle East Studies Program.