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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Des prêts aux colonies d’Hébron et de la Samarie

by Sébastien Crépel

Dexia Israeli Grants Loans To the Hebron and Samaria Israeli Colonies

Translated Wednesday 5 March 2014, by Isabelle Métral

NGOs and UN Reporter Richard Falk deny Dexia’s right to put corporate law above international law.

According to the UN Reporter on Occupied Palestinian Territories, on the basis of investigations by the Belgian Intal network and the Israeli ONG Who Profits, the outstanding discounted bills of Franco-Belgian Bank Dexia’s Israeli branch might well total 35 million euro – a figure contested by the group who puts it at 1.1 million only. It appears that the Enkahal, Karnai Shomrom, Ariel, and Kedumin colonies have benefited from Dexia Israel’s services: they can open accounts with Dexia Israel for subsidies from the Israeli National Lottery (Mifal Hapais) to be transferred to. "These funds are specifically earmarked for the building of settlements in the colonies,” Richard Falk says. He also observes that Dexia Israel is suspected of managing bank accounts for private individuals and “mortgages” for home buyers, which the group categorically denies. In his previous September 2012 report Richard Falk mentioned other colonies as having benefited from Dexia Israel’s services: Alfei Menasheh, Elkna, Beit-El, Beit Aryeh, Giva’at Ze’ev, situated in the regions of the Jordan valley, Hebron and Samaria.

"As an Israeli bank subject to the regulations and laws of this country, Dexia Israel cannot refuse to provide financial services,” Dexia’s spokesperson Caroline Junius pleads, since in 2011 the Knesset banned all forms of corporate discrimination against the colonies. Moreover, the share-holder argues, Dexia just cannot impose on its branch decisions “that run contrary to the company’s interests and the law” - which would be precisely the case were the branch to refuse to deal with Israeli colonies; this would be detrimental to Dexia Israel’s rating, and would thus jeopardize its projected cession…

It remains to be decided whether “international law or corporate law” should come first, states ONG Intal’s Mario Franssen. To Richard Falk, the case is crystal clear: when “a State owns or controls a company, it has the immediate capacity to see to it that policies, legislation, and regulations concerning human rights are implemented.”

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