Growing number of European countries warns their citizens about the risk involved in trading with illegal Israeli settlements

On June 27th, Spain and Italy’s governments have warned their citizens against doing business with illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights.

Following the move of French foreign ministry, which issued a similar notice on Tuesday last week, Spain and Italy said that any business conducted in the settlements entails legal risks as they are built upon land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. As a result of the above, the European Union and its Member States are raising European citizens’ and businesses’ awareness on the risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements. Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory. This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment” – read the statement from the Italian Foreign Ministry.

The new warnings are worded in language very similar to that issued by UK last December, suggesting a high degree of coordination between the European countries.

List of countries that have already issued warnings to business about the involvement with illegal Israeli settlements:

- Netherlands*

- United Kingdom (December 2013)

- France (June 24th)

- Spain (June 25th)

- Italy (June 25th)

 Germany posted very general information on the website of Federal Foreign Affair office :“With regard to ownership acquisition and investments in the settlements, it must be pointed out that in the Federal Government’s view the settlements violate international law.”

The recent move is seen as a part of join act taken by the European countries. It is expected that other countries might issue similar warnings during the next weeks.

*Netherlands didn’t publish typical warnings to business but their discouragement policy trough the official statements is publicly known