New report exposes billions of dollars in EU financial support for businesses in illegal Israeli settlements

672 European financial institutions have financial relationships with 50 companies that are actively involved in illegal Israeli settlements. These financial institutions provided US $ 114 billion in loans and guarantees and held US $ 141 billion in investments in stocks and bonds of these companies. This is the main finding of a new research report released today by an interregional coalition of Palestinian and European NGOs, which examined financial flows between January 2018 and May 2021.

The “Don’t Buy into Occupation” (DBIO) coalition is a joint project between 25 Palestinian, regional and European organizations based in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom (United Kingdom), 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 settlement enterprise in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and European financial institutions (FIs). [1]

Provide economical oxygen

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and constitute acts that give rise to individual criminal responsibility as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Yet European financial institutions continue to invest billions in companies that are actively involved in the Israeli settlement enterprise.

Research from the DBIO coalition shows that between 2018 and May 2021, 672 European financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, insurance companies and pension funds, had financial relationships with 50 companies actively involved in Israeli settlements. [2] 114 billion US dollars were provided in the form of loans and guarantees. In May 2021, European investors also held US $ 141 billion in stocks and bonds of these companies.

These companies and financial institutions play a vital role in facilitating the growth of the economic viability of the Israeli settlement enterprise.

“The involvement of these companies in the settlements – through investments, bank loans, resource extraction, infrastructure contracts, and equipment and product supply agreements – provides them with the the essential economic oxygen they need to grow and prosper. “

Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967

Corporate responsibility

These companies, creditors and investors have a responsibility to ensure that they are not involved in violations of international law and are not complicit in international crimes, and to remedy any negative impact on human rights resulting from their activities. business and their financial relationships.

Companies are expected to respond quickly and consider responsible disengagement. International financial institutions, including banks and pension funds, have a responsibility to use their leverage to ensure that the companies in which they invest act responsibly and in accordance with the standards of international law, and to separate from those who cannot or do not want to do so.

Recently, several financial institutions and corporations have taken responsibility for disengaging from business ventures linked to Israeli settlements. The two most recent and important examples are those of the Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). KLP is Norway’s largest pension company, which in July 2021 divested 16 companies linked to the Israeli settlement firm. Likewise, GPFG announced in September 2021 that it would exclude three companies actively involved in Israeli settlements. The 19 companies excluded by KLP and GPFG were listed in the UN database of companies involved in certain activities related to Israeli settlements in the OPT, mandated by the Human Rights Council in 2016, and published in February 2020.

“Despite the illegal nature of Israeli settlements under international law, European financial institutions continue to throw a financial lifeline to companies operating in the settlements. European financial institutions should assume their responsibilities and follow the example of KLP and GPFG. They should end all investments. and financial flows to Israeli settlements, and not to join the Israeli occupation. “

Willem Staes, coordinator of the DBIO coalition.

The full report is available here: https://dontbuyintooccupation.org

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