New research commissioned by Belgian NGO's 11.11.11 and CNCD-11.11.11 shows how private companies in 15 European countries are significantly invested in the Israeli settlement industry. The financial relationships with companies involved in the settlement industry reaches over US$ 42 billion.
Israeli settlements are war crimes under international law and render social-economic development in the occupied Palestinian territory impossible. However, a new Profundo report commissioned by Belgian NGO's 11.11.11 and CNCD-11.11.11, "Doing Business with the Occupation", exposes how dozens of European companies maintain economic and financial relationships with the settlement industry.
Maintaining the occupation
Private companies play a critical role in facilitating the functioning and growth of illegal Israeli settlements. Although the EU maintains a firm position on the illegality of Israeli settlements, the report identified investors and banks in 15 countries from across the European Union, Norway and Switzerland that have financial relationships with selected sectors of the Israeli settlement industry.
The overall value of loans, credits and underwriting services for top European banks reached US$ 25,66 billion, while the value of shares and bonds held by top European investors reached US$ 17,02 billion. The four main sectors where European financial institutions are involved in the Israeli settlement industry are natural resources, tourism, energy and banking.
The research identified direct links for two subsidiaries of EU-based companies: HeidelbergCement (Germany) and Enerpoint (Italy). Moreover, a much larger number of European companies are indirectly implicated in the settlements economy through the supply of heavy machinery, solar panels, transport equipment, and infrastructure planning services. Among these corporations are several from Germany (Max Bögl Group, Siemens, PADCON, SMA Solar Technology, REFU Solar), as well as business enterprises from Spain (Ineco, ACS Group), the UK (CNH Industrial, JCB) and France (Alstom).
Companies that are involved in the Israeli settlement industry are increasingly coming under international scrutiny, as the United Nations are currently compiling a database of such companies. The report "Doing Business with the Occupation" anticipates this upcoming UN Database.
'Dozens of European companies are implicated in the Israeli settlement industry, often without properly realizing the full extent of their involvement. This report, together with the upcoming UN Database, reminds these companies about their obligations not to support –directly or indirectly- international law violations in Palestine', 11.11.11 and CNCD-11.11.11 conclude.