Under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, “businesses are expected to undertake human rights due diligence to identify and mitigate contributions to human rights violations of not only their own activities but also activities to which they are directly linked by their business relationships,” Human Rights Watch notes.
“None of the seven Israeli banks contacted responded to questions regarding any steps they have taken to implement” the UN Guiding Principles, according to Human Rights Watch.
But there is no way to limit the harm that comes from doing any business related to Israel’s colonies.
“Settlements inherently contribute to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” Human Rights Watch states. “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.”
The group urges banks to completely “cease doing business in or with Israeli settlements” because “in Human Rights Watch’s view, these activities inherently contribute to serious abuses.”
This report builds on one Human Rights Watch published last September debunking claims by Israeli banks that Israeli law requires them to provide services that aid the theft and colonization of Palestinian land.