Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Majority of Israeli banks complicit in illegal settlements, report says

By Annelies Verbeek - June 06, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Settlement Expansion] [settlements]

Israeli banks are complicit in illegal settlement activities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report released Tuesday May 28. 

The report “Bankrolling Abuse: Israeli banks in West Bank settlements,” discusses the ways in which Israeli banks provide services that “help support, maintain and expand unlawful settlements in the West Bank.”
According to HRW, the largest Israeli banks play an active role the illegal settlement activities, by “becoming partners in settlement expansion, supervising construction, holding the buyers’ money in escrow, and through ownership of the project in case of default by the construction company.”
The banks also provide loans to local settlement authorities, mortgage loans to home-buyers, and install and operate ATMs and bank branches in the colonies.
The report emphasised that Palestinians cannot enjoy the banks’ services, as they are forbidden by military order from entering the settlements, except as workers carrying special permits.
By investing in settlements and taking part in settlement expansion, the banks are complicit in unlawful land seizure by the Israeli Authorities, Human Rights Watch said.
Most of the settlements are constructed on “state land.” This land can be unlawfully seized from Palestinians,” the report reads.
“By facilitating expansion of settlements, these banking activities facilitate unlawful population transfers,” HRW claimed, saying that financing settlement activities are a critical step in the transfer of Israeli civilian population into occupied territory.
“The transfer by the occupier of members of its civilian population into the occupied territory, and the deportation or transfer of members of the population of the territory, are war crimes,” the report reads.
“Companies, including banks that conduct business in or with settlements cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these abuses,” HRW says in the report. “Because the activities they conduct take place on unlawfully seized land, under conditions of discrimination and through serious violations of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power.”
Human Rights Watch does not officially endorse the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS calls for consumer boycotts of Israeli products, for companies to divest from involvement in human rights abuses, and for governments to impose sanctions to force Israel to respect International Law.
The organisation explicitly stated that they do not endorse BDS when Israel ordered HRW director for Israel and Palestine, Omar Shakir, to leave the country last month. The Israeli authorities ordered his deportation on the accusation of support for BDS. The decision was later reversed.
However, with this report, HRW does draw attention to banks’ complicity in Israeli human rights abuses. It is not the first HRW report that points out economic complicity in Israeli violations of international law.
January 2016, HRW released a report “Occupation Inc: how settlement businesses contribute to Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.” This report slams the complicity of businesses operating in and around the settlements, providing goods and services to the settlements as an “essential backbone the whole settlement enterprise.”
September 2016, HRW slammed FIFA, saying the organisation is complicit in human rights violations, after they sponsored matches in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Back to Top

Related Articles

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dies after contracting Covid-19
November 11, 2020

Israeli forces raze Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa, leaving 41 children homeless
November 06, 2020

US passport changes for Jerusalem-born citizens an "attempt to erase Palestiniansö
November 04, 2020

Most Popular Articles

Israelĺs puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co