European car rental giant Europcar has shut down its Israeli franchisee’s branches in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), reported American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
“After becoming a franchisee of Europcar, Israeli company Albar terminated its businesses in the occupied West Bank,” AFSC announced, adding: “Europcar thus joins other multinationals that have ended operations in illegal Israeli settlements” in the oPt.
Albar, one of Israel’s leading car leasing and rental companies, signed an agreement last year to become the exclusive Europcar franchisee in Israel, a deal which went into effect in September 2017.
According to Israeli research centre Who Profits, and AFSC’s own research, Albar had car rental branches in two illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, Beitar Iliit and Modi’in Illit.
While both branches “were still operating under the Europcar brand as recently as December 2017”, the AFSC report states, both “were recently shut down”.
An Albar representative confirmed the company does not have any other branches in the oPt.
AFSC observed that “the closure of these two branches represents a divestment of Europcar from the illegal settlement industry and the Israeli occupation as a whole”.
“Europcar thus joins a growing list of other multinational corporations that have pulled out of the settlement industry in recent years – an emerging human rights norm for businesses,” AFSC added. “This list includes Assa Abloy, CRH, Dexia, G4S, Orange, Unilever, Veolia, Vitens, and others.”
Europcar is a French car rental company that leads the European car rental sector with 19 per cent of the total market share. It operates in 133 countries around the world, mostly through franchise agreements with local companies.