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Article

Israeli Law and Banking in West Bank Settlements

The activities of Israeli banks in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank raise serious human rights concerns. By providing services to and in settlements, which are illegal under international humanitarian law…Israeli banks are making existing settlements more sustainable, enabling the expansion of their built-up area and the take-over of Palestinian land, and furthering the de facto annexation of the territory…When faced with such concerns over their banking activities in and with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli banks have said that they are required by Israeli law to provide those services. However, Human Rights Watch can find no Israeli domestic law that requires Israeli banks to provide many such settlement-related activities. In other words, Israeli banks could stop many of their settlement-related activities – notably financing new construction, providing mortgages, and operating service points -- branches and ATMs – without necessarily incurring adverse domestic legal consequences…Human Rights Watch does not believe it is possible for businesses to operate in the settlements in compliance with their international responsibilities, due to the inherent IHL and human rights violations that characterize settlements. Human Rights Watch is calling for banks, like other businesses, to comply with their own human rights responsibilities by ceasing settlement-related activities...

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