Boycott group: OECD decision shows ‘complicity with war crimes’

Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian boycott movement condemned the OECD’s decision to offer Israel membership to the body on Monday, a statement read.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), a coalition of Palestinian organizations and trade unions, renounced the move, with a spokesperson commenting that by accepting Israel, “OECD member countries show a blatant complicity with Israeli war crimes, destroying the very foundations of international law. Rewarding Israel entrenches its impunity and dashes any realistic hope for achieving a just peace in the region.”

The OECD’s decision is the culmination of a process that began in 2007 whereby Israel had to pass a number of technical tests and implement reforms to be eligible for accession. According to the “Road Map for the accession of Israel to the OECD Convention”, it was required to demonstrate commitment to the “fundamental values” of the OECD, the statement read.

The BNC said it released a report detailing how Israeli breaches of the requirements, making it ineligible for accession.

“Officials of OECD member states are perfectly aware that Israel does not comply with any of the objective criteria put forth. Yet, they have decided to single out Israel, elevate it above all these objective criteria, reward it for its defiance of the OECD, not to mention of international law, and make the entire accession process a farce.”

In the run-up to the OECD decision, the BNC coordinated with the PLO, unions and other civil society actors in all 30 OECD member states as part of an intensive campaign to oppose Israel’s membership for “its persistent and systematic violations of the rights of the Palestinians, especially after its atrocities in Gaza in 2008-2009, described as war crimes in the UN report authored by Justice Richard Goldstone and his colleagues,” the statement read.

BNC members said the OECD would be “violating their own legal obligations” by accepting Israel into the body. The PLO, supported by international law experts, presented to the OECD and its member states a legal opinion that highlights this serious legal matter and requested that it be clarified prior to Israel’s accession, the statement said, adding that “governments are yet to respond.”

Many opposed to Israel’s accession to the OECD have pointed out that illegal West Bank settlement economies’ statistics were provided by Israel in its portfolio to the body.

“The only legally sound course of action for OECD governments would have been to put Israel’s accession process on hold and give due consideration to the serious legal ramifications put forth by prominent legal experts,” said a BNC spokesperson.

“Not doing so means that these states are actively abetting Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people and cementing Israeli impunity in maintaining its occupation and apartheid system.”

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