'The European Union is expanding its partnership with Bank Leumi, a major financier of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
The EU claims to oppose Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied territories, a war crime.
On Monday, Emanuele Giaufret, the EU ambassador in Tel Aviv, trumpeted news that the European Investment Fund and Bank Leumi are expanding a loan program for tech companies in Israel.
Called LeumiTech, the program was launched in 2016 with an initial $100 million.
Under the expanded partnership, the EU’s European Investment Fund will provide guarantees for up to $620 million of LeumiTech loans.
?? European Investment Fund expands its loan program for Israeli SMEs https://t.co/fodMQCeo6D
— Emanuele Giaufret (@EGiaufretEU) May 20, 2019
The European Investment Fund and Israel’s Bank Leumi Expand Tech Loan Programhttps://t.co/1C41tZJf1r
— EU in Israel (@EUinIsrael) May 20, 2019
Expanding colonial settlements
Last year, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing how all major Israeli banks, including Bank Leumi, actively participate in dispossessing Palestinians.
As an example, the report states that one settlement, financed to the tune of $53 million by Bank Leumi, was advertised as a “charming town in the center of Israel … with a breathtaking, pastoral view, among olive trees and blooming squills.”
That settlement, Alfei Menashe, is in fact built on land stolen from the Palestinian village of Azzun.
Bank Leumi finances settlements and their infrastructure across the occupied West Bank, according to watchdog Who Profits.
“Settlements inherently contribute to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” according to Human Rights Watch.
“Companies, including banks, that conduct business in or with settlements cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these abuses, because the activities they conduct take place on unlawfully seized land, under conditions of discrimination, and through a serious violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power.”'
Read more: EU expands partnership with Israeli settlement builder