Engaging in strategic litigation to end impunity of private and public actors who facilitate Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

Public Procurement

At the request of campaigners concerned by the participation of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlements and human rights abuses in EU public procurement procedures, we conducted research into the legal grounds for the exclusion of such companies from public tendering under applicable EU Law on public procurement.

Our research concluded that it would be lawful for a public contractor to exclude an economic operator from a tender if they are involved in economic activities that directly maintain and facilitate grave violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses, because this amounts to “grave professional misconduct”, under EU law.

The settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is directly connected to highly discriminatory practices leading to grave violations of Palestinians’ fundamental rights such as land and resource annexation, demolitions and seizure of properties, forced evictions, restrictions on freedom of movement, and settler violence.

Besides these human rights violations, the settlement enterprise is underpinned by grave violations of international humanitarian law, such as the transfer of civilians into occupied territory and the unlawful and extensive appropriation of property. These grave violations are war crimes that are prosecutable by the International Criminal Court, and as such are currently under investigation.

The substantial contribution of businesses in maintaining this situation of illegality is confirmed by the publication in February 2020 of the UN Database of businesses that directly and indirectly enable, facilitate and profit from the construction and growth of Israeli settlements in the oPt.

In this context, the ELSC engages in advocacy at a local, national and European level, aiming to generate national practices in the field of procurement that takes into account the respect for human rights by suppliers.

Our research focuses on the situation in relation to illegal settlements in the oPt. However, the principles, law and policy explored are equally applicable to other situations of unlawful occupations or armed conflict in the world.