Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bank Cornered over Financing Israeli Settlements

By David Cronin

"BRUSSELS, May 19, 2010 (IPS) - New evidence has been uncovered to show that Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is still financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories despite official assurances that such loans have ceased.

Jean-Luc Dehaene, a former Belgian prime minister and now Dexia's chairman, announced last year that the bank had not approved any new loans to authorities located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank since June 2008.

This week, however, the Israeli human rights group Who Profits from the Occupation? obtained documents that contradict Dehaene. These papers give details of loans worth a total of more than eight million shekels (two million dollars) to the Shomron regional council, which covers 30 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and to Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements near Bethlehem. All of the loans were authorised by Dexia Israel between April and December 2009....."

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