Many of Israel's largest banks are providing financial services that help support, maintain and expand illegal settlements by funding their construction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released Tuesday.
According to the report, Israel's seven largest banks provide numerous financial services to settlements.
The report documents the involvement of many prominent Israeli banks in helping to build new housing units for preexisting settlements by acquiring property rights in occupied territory.
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"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.
"By facilitating expansion of settlements, these banking activities facilitate unlawful population transfers," it adds.
Roughly 500,000 Israelis currently live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
The Palestinians want these areas — along with the Gaza Strip — for a future Palestinian state.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.
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