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Who profits?


A Volvo subsidiary provides mobile interrogation rooms used by Israel's General Security Services

Danish companies provide services, including security services, in West Bank settlements

A Canadian firm builds a new Israeli settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Dexia Israel announces it will continue providing loans and financial services to local municipalities of settlements in the occupied territory

A subsidiary of Volvo, the Swedish company, provides buses used as mobile interrogation rooms by Israel's General Security Services

The Swedish Volvo Trucks company owns 26.5% of Merkavim, an Israeli company which manufactures buses. Merkavim proudly declares on its website that the Israel Prison Authority is in the process of replacing all of its prisoner transportation fleet with buses manufactured by Merkavim. The buses of the Israeli Prison Authority are not only used to transport Palestinian political prisoners from the occupied territory to prisons inside Israel, these buses are also used as mobile interrogation rooms for political prisoners. At the end of this process, interrogation of Palestinian political prisoners by the Israeli General Security Services (the Shabak) will have been conducted in Volvo buses manufactured by a Volvo subsidiary. This marks an increase in the involvement in the occupation of Volvo Trucks, which had already authorized auto-repair shops in West Bank settlements and whose heavy machinery vehicles have regularly been used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, as well as, in the construction of Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank.

Danish companies provide services in West Bank settlements

Earlier this year two major Danish financial institutions announced in the press that they would divest from companies with occupation-related businesses. Danske Bank excluded Elbit Systems and Africa Israel from its investment portfolio for their respective involvement in providing equipment for the Separation Wall and in constructing illegal settlements. The Danish PKA pension fund decided to exclude Elbit Systems, Magal Security Systems and Detection Systems because of their involvement in the construction of the Separation Wall, two weeks after it excluded Africa Israel. New findings by Who Profits show that some Danish firms are directly involved in the occupation. The Danish-British security company, Group4securicor (G4S), has an Israeli branch, which provides security services in Israeli settlements. The same company has previously provided Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank with luggage-scanning machines and full-body scanners. On the same note, the Danish ISS company, which provides facility services for businesses, provides these same services in West Bank settlements.

A Canadian firm is building a new settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem

A new settlement expansion in Jerusalem, called Yael Hill, is in the planning. This Jewish-only settlement will engulf the Palestinian town of Walaja on three sides. This settlement seems to be specifically designed to create an Israeli continuum between Jerusalem and the settlement block of Gush Etzion. Yael Hill is a private initiative by several Israeli entrepreneurs, in collaboration with CIM Lustigman, a subsidiary of the Canadian Metrontario Group. This is not the first time that CIM Lustigman has taken part in the construction of settlements: CIM Lustigman built the Israeli police station in the contested E-1 area, near the Ma'ale Adumim settlement. Like Yael Hill, it seems that the E-1 construction project was aimed at ensuring Israeli continuity between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, cutting off the southern part of the West Bank (Bethlehem and Hebron) from the central and northern parts (Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin) for Palestinians. Currently, this company is in the process of building new apartments in French Hill, another settlement neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Dexia Israel announces it will continue providing loans and financial services to local municipalities of settlements in the occupied territory, while its controlling Dexia Group announces it will stop all such settlement-related activity

Dexia Israel, a subsidiary of the Belgian-French Dexia Group, provides long-term loans and other financial services to Israeli local authorities in the occupied territory. After Who Profits exposed proof of that fact, and following months of protest and a public campaign led by the Belgian Intal group, Dexia announced, in June 2009 that financing Israeli settlements is contrary to the bank’s code of ethics, and that the bank would stop providing new loans to West Bank settlements. However, when approached directly on Dec 30, 2009, the Dexia Israel bank gave the following statement: "Dexia Israel Bank gives services to local municipalities in Israel and there is no decision to discriminate [among them] by geographic location; additionally, the option of stopping the provision of services to any of them is not being considered". The bank's spokesperson made sure we understood that this reference to "local authorities in Israel" included Israeli settlements in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

By providing these financial services, the bank helps sustain these settlements, which are illegal, according to international law. Moreover, the bank has failed to supply us with answers about financial services provided to Palestinian local authorities in the West Bank. If the bank provides services to Israeli settlements and not to their neighboring Palestinian local authorities, it in fact implements the structural discrimination created by the occupation.

Source: Who profits? Newsletter

Original article published in April 2010

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THE LAND OF CANAAN : 03/05/2010