672 European financial firms had relations with businesses involved in Israeli settlements

A Palestinian stands on his property overlooking the Israeli settlement Har Homa, West Bank, February 18, 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in an attempt to prevent the upcoming vote on an United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The Palestinian Authority and other Arab nations have pushed for the UN Security Council to vote on the resolution which is scheduled to take place today

672 European financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, insurance companies, and pension funds, had financial relationships with 50 businesses that are actively involved with illegal Israeli settlements, a report has found.

The new research published by “Don’t Buy into Occupation”, a cross-regional coalition of 25 Palestinian and European organisations, 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 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 research revealed.

The 50 companies for which the research found financial relationships with European financial institutions, are involved in one or more of 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, including Airbnb, TripAdvisor and General Mills.

France’s BNP Paribas, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and the UK’s HSBC were among the institutions said to have provided $114bn in the form of loans and underwritings, and held investments to the amount of $141bn in shares and bonds of such businesses.

Along with BNP Parabas ($17.30bn), Deutsche Bank ($12.03bn) and HSBC ($8.72bn) in the top ten creditors to the 50 businesses were, the UK’s Barclays ($8.69bn), France’s Societe Generale ($8.20bn) and Credit Agricole ($5.55bn), Spain’s Santander ($4.75bn), the Netherland’s ING Group ($4.60bn), Germany’s Commerzbank ($4.37bn) and Italy’s Unicredit ($3.58bn).

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and constitute acts which incur individual criminal liability as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The “Don’t Buy into Occupation” (DBIO) coalition 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 investigates the financial relationships between businesses involved in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and European Financial Institutions (FIs).

(Source / 11.10.2021)

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