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$141bn in European investments in companies active in illegal settlements

September 29, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank calling to boycott Israeli products coming from settlements, 5 June 2019 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

Some 672 European financial institutions have ties with 50 companies that are actively involved in illegal Israeli settlements, a report released today has revealed.

The Don’t Buy Into Occupation Coalition said financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, insurance companies, and pension funds, had financial relationships with 50 businesses that are actively involved with Israeli settlements.

“During the analysed period, US$ 114 billion was provided in the form of loans and underwritings. As of May 2021, European investors also held US$ 141 billion in shares and bonds of these companies,” the report added.

“All 50 companies are involved in one or more of the “listed activities” that raise particular human rights concerns, which constitute the basis for inclusion in the UN database of business enterprises that are involved in Israeli settlements, which was published in February 2020.”

These companies and financial institutions play a vital role in facilitating the economic viability of Israeli settlement operations, the report explained.

The Don’t Buy into the Occupation is a joint project between 25 Palestinian, regional and European organisations based in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK), including FIDH and its member leagues Al-Haq and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights. The coalition is investigating financial relations between companies involved in the illegal Israeli colonisation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and European financial institutions.

The 50 companies for which this research found financial relationships with European financial institutions include Airbnb, Alstom, Bank Hapoalim, Caterpillar, Cisco Systems, Elbit Systems, Expedia Group, General Mills, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Motorola Solutions, RE/MAX Holdings, Siemens, Tripadvisor and Volvo Group.

The top 10 creditors provided $77.81 billion to businesses that are actively involved with illegal Israeli settlements, the study said, naming them as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Société Générale,Crédit Agricole, Santander, ING Group, Commerzbank and UniCredit.

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