European policy paper suggests banking restrictions against Israel

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A paper by an influential European think tank proposes that the European Union should restrict its dealings with Israeli banks to combat Israel’s West Bank occupation.

The paper, to be published Wednesday by the European Council on Foreign Relations, says that by dealing with Israeli banks, the E.U. could be contravening its own guidelines, according to Reuters. The guidelines prohibit the E.U. and member states from funding loans to entities in Israeli  settlements. Given that the British government has a controlling stake in some banks, the guidelines would prohibit those banks from dealing with Israeli banks with branches in the settlements.

The paper, titled “E.U. Differentiation and Israeli Settlements,” also said Israelis should not be able to use properties in the settlements as collateral for European loans. The paper also questioned whether there should be a tax exemption for European charities’ activities in the settlements, and whether the E.U. should recognize academic qualifications from institutions in the settlements.

“Under its own regulations and principles, Europe cannot legally escape from its duty to differentiate between Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the paper said, according to Reuters.


The paper comes after the E.U. said it would move ahead with its plan to label goods manufactured in the settlements.

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