European financial institutions have raised a total of 164 billion dollars (152 billion euros) over the past three years, the peace organization PAX writes in a new report. Invested In companies with operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It concerns financiers such as banks, pension funds and insurers and about fifty other companies. The organization wants lenders to stop investing in these companies.
PAX claims that fourteen Dutch financial institutions contribute in this way to the construction and expansion of the occupied Palestinian territories. ING is in the top 10 and according to the study, between January 2020 and August 2023 it has invested 6.6 billion euros in companies operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. French bank BNP Paribas topped the list with about 20.5 billion euros in funding.
For example, lenders financed travel agencies TUI, Booking.com and Airbnb during the period studied. This is despite them engaging in 'activities that raise human rights concerns' as they provide shelter in various Israeli occupied territories. Their presence maintains illegal settlements and contributes to their growth, the report said.
“It is unacceptable for Dutch financial institutions to invest people's savings and pensions in companies operating in the occupied territories. We see the number and scale of human rights violations in the West Bank increasing every day,” says Thomas van Kool of Box.
ING responded that it had no offices or employees in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “We screen loan transactions for projects or companies with branches in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that are active in infrastructure, construction, industrial, agricultural or defense activities. ING does not finance these activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” a spokesperson said.
The reservation states that providers are allowed to list their location on the platform as long as they comply with local laws. “If we are alerted that a listing on our site may be linked to negative human rights implications, we will immediately investigate and take appropriate action if necessary.” TUI and Airbnb have not yet responded to a request for comment.
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