Portugal joins number of EU countries warning their citizens against doing business with illegal Israeli settlements

On Wednesday, 2 July, Portugal joined the list of European countries warning its citizens against doing business with illegal Israeli settlements. Another 10 European countries are expected to issue similar recommendations by the end of the week.

The warning, which appeared on Portugal’s Foreign Ministry website, use similar language adopted by France, Spain and Italy last week in warnings against doing business with illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights.

You can read the full warnings to business here

« Potential buyers and investors should be aware that a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, could have consequences for property they purchase or economic activities they promote in these settlements. In case of disputes, it could be very difficult for Member States to ensure national protection of their interests.

EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements. » – read the warning from the Portuguese Foreign Ministry. 

Last week France, Spain and Italy issued similar warnings. In December last year the British government issued guidance on business involvement with illegal Israeli settlements, warning citizens against doing business with individuals or entities in Israeli settlements. Netherlands didn’t publish warnings to business on the Foreign’s Ministry website but their discouragement policy trough the official statements is publicly known. Germany posted very general information on the website of Federal Foreign Affair office about the illegality if Israeli settlements.

Publishing warnings to business about the risk involved in trading with illegal Israeli settlements is a step in a good direction but the EU has to adopt further measures to end the complicity of European companies in Israeli violations of human rights, including by prohibiting business relations with Israeli public and private companies in the occupied Palestinian territory, and by ensuring that companies involved in war crimes are brought to justice.