Construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. (Photo credit: Anadolu Agency)
According to a report published on 5 December by the advocacy group Don’t Buy into Occupation, investments by European firms in Israel’s illegal settlements increased by more than $30 billion since last year.
Almost 24 Palestinian, regional, and European organizations have joined forces to form the group, which aims to investigate and disclose any connections between European financial institutions and companies involved in illegal Israeli settlements.
In their second report, “Exposing the financial flows into illegal Israeli settlements,” the group discovered that between January 2019 and August 2022, 725 European financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, insurance companies, and pension funds, had financial ties to 50 firms that are directly associated with Israeli settlements. International law prohibits all squatters and settlements in Israel.
Loans and underwriting totaled $171.4 billion over the three years covered by the report. The figure represents a $30 billion increase over last year when European firms invested $141 billion in illegal settlements. European investors are also said to hold $115.5 billion in shares and bonds of companies benefiting from the settlements as of August 2022.
According to the advocacy organization, businesses directly or indirectly associated with Israeli settlements run a significant danger of being complicit in serious violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, as well as contributing to other human rights violations.
Meanwhile, on 8 November, the ‘Elad’ settlement association in occupied East Jerusalem received roughly $7.9 million to support illegal settlements in the Palestinian town of Silwan.
The Elad group pursues the declared objective of “Judaizing” East Jerusalem, including Silwan, as a part of its mission to expand a Jewish presence across the occupied city and to uproot the indigenous Palestinian population under the guise of archeological and touristic endeavors.
Israel has illegally expanded its territory since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and built settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for over 700,000 settlers, in clear violation of international law.
Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by most countries and is considered one of the biggest obstacles to peace, as Palestinians consider East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.