Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation - by Stephen Lendman
Wall Street does it. Other Western banks do it. They all exploit markets, often ripping off customers illegally. Why not Israeli banks also in their own back yard, easily in expanding settlements.
The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) includes 10 feminist organizations and non-affiliated activist women in Israel. Founded in 2000, it advocates "radical social and political change," and is "a leading voice against the occupation, committed to feminist principles of organizing and Jewish-Palestinian partnership in a relentless struggle for a just peace."
In October, it released a report titled, "Financing the Israeli Occupation, The Direct Involvement of Israeli Banks in Illegal Settlement Activity and Control over the Palestinian Banking Market."
Besides stealing Palestinian land, economic interests play a large role in Israel's occupation, including resource control, labor exploitation, and commercial enterprises of all kinds, operating freely and illegally in settlements, banks among them.
Israeli banks profiteer several ways discussed below, but make no mistake. Like in the West, they're predators, especially in Occupied Palestine, permitted to steal and exploit because what say have occupied people. As a result, banks (construction companies, and other commercial enterprises) breach international law as participants in illegal projects, a lucrative profit center they freely exploit.
To encourage migration, Israel offers generous benefits and incentives, most settlements given National Priority Area A status, entitling them to:
-- quality, low-cost housing with subsidized mortgages;
-- free education from age three and extended school days;
-- free transportation to and from schools, and higher teacher salaries to attract qualified ones to move;
-- for industry and agriculture, grants and subsidies, indemnification from EU produce tariffs, significantly lower taxes than inside the Green Line; and
-- larger balancing grants to help settlements cover deficits.
In all aspects of finance, Israel banks are involved, profiteering from an expanding market six ways:
(1) Providing mortgages to homebuyers
Six large Israeli banks provide them - Bank Hapoalim, Leumi Mortgage Bank (of Bank Leumi), Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Discount Mortgage Bank (of Israel Discount Bank), The First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), and Jerusalem Bank. All offer mortgages in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan, seized from Syria in 1967. By so doing, they actively participate illegally in Israel's occupation.
Moreover, as lenders, they're also owners until mortgages loans are repaid, and if not, they seize properties in default, making banks sole owners of illegal ones on stolen land, becoming more than ever criminally complicit.