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Israeli companies giving millions of shekels to illegal West Bank settlements

Israeli companies are donating millions of shekels to illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), an investigation published in Ha’aretz newspaper has revealed.

According to the paper, in Israel, “whether you are buying milk or chocolate spread, talking on the phone or using banking services, you may be unknowingly making a small contribution to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

Documents analysed by Ha’aretz show that private and publicly-held Israeli companies donated to settlements to the tune of “millions of shekels over the last decade.”

Donors have “ranged from corporate giants like the dairy conglomerate Tnuva, cellular carrier Cellcom and Bank Hapoalim to smaller companies like chocolate manufacturer Hashachar Ha’ole and Leo Shachter diamonds.”

Recipients of such donations have included Itamar settlement, near Nablus, as well as Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva, established in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The latter received 20,000 shekels from the publicly-owned Israel Petrochemical Enterprises in 2011.

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Yitzhar yeshiva, meanwhile, described in the paper as “one of the most extremist institutions operating on the West Bank”, received donations from construction and waste removal company Zvi Cohen and Brothers, and Barak Hass, which deals in financial planning and mortgages.

Other companies who were found to have donated to settlements or settler groups in the OPT included medical equipment manufacturer Elbit Ultrasound and mobile phone provider Cellcom.

Ariel University, situated in a major colony in the West Bank, “received more than 5.5 million shekels in donations, some of it from public companies” in 2012.

Donors to the settlement-based university have also included Bank Leumi, Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal, and and Bank Hapoalim, all who gave money for scholarships at the institution.

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