New Israeli Report: Israeli Banks are Principal Beneficiaries of the Illegal Settlements

The branch of Bank Poalei Agudat Israel of First International Bank in the settlement of Modi’in Illit ~Photo: Who Profits, April 2009.

According to a new report by Who Profits, a research project that exposes Israeli and international corporate involvement in the occupation:

“The banks are well aware of the activities carried out with their financial assistance.”

A report published today by Who Profits exposes the financial support provided by Israeli banks to illegal Israeli settlements and the direct involvement of Israeli banks in control over the Palestinian banking market. The report, “Financing the Occupation,” investigated the involvement of  Israeli banks in the economy of occupation:

Israeli banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights. The services provided by the banks support and sustain these activities. [p.4]

Merav Amir, Who Profits Research Coordinator, said today:

Our research provides evidence that the banks are well aware of the types and whereabouts of the activity that is being carried out with their financial assistance, and exposes the ways in which they are supporting illegitimate activities that violate international law.

Who Profits from the Occupation is a research project initiated by the Coalition of Women for Peace, an Israeli feminist peace organization. This project is dedicated to exposing the ongoing Israeli and international commercial involvement in the sustainability of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land.

The new report identifies six categories of involvement of Israeli banks in the occupation: 1) Providing mortgage loans for home-buyers in settlements; 2) providing special loans for building projects in settlements; 3) providing financial services to Israeli local authorities in the West Bank and the Golan Heights; 4) operating branches in Israeli settlements; 5) providing financial services to businesses in settlements; 6) benefiting from access to the Palestinian monetary market as a captive market.

Merav Amir:

In a more general perspective, it can be said that any and all aspects of Israeli control over the Occupied Territories have a financial foundation, and that none of the financial activities of individuals, organizations, governmental institutions and commercial companies could take place without the active support of Israeli banks. The findings of our research show that as the providers of these services, Israeli banks are principal beneficiaries of financial activities in the illegal Israeli settlements and of Israeli control over the Palestinian monetary market.

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