The Belgian French bank group Dexia, which specializes in financing municipalities and other local authorities, is refusing to work with Judea and Samaria local councils, Israel Radio reported Wednesday morning.
Sources in the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip told Israel Radio that in several cases, applicants were informed that their loans could not be approved as their localities were situated over the Green Line.
The bank reportedly cited the fear that were an agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinians which resulted in settlements being dismantled, applicants would not be able to repay loans.
Shmuel Reifman, who chairs the Center for Regional Councils, confirmed Israel Radio`s report. He noted that certain bodies which do not support Israel were putting pressure on Dexia, and threatening to downsize investments in the company if it continues to extend credit to councils over the Green Line.
The local subsidiary of the company, Dexia Israel, responded to the report by saying that the bank operates solely according to business considerations.
However Dexia Israel’s decision was reported on various Palestinian Web sites as early as June this year, apparently as the result of a political campaign in Belgium.
One pro-Palestinian site quoted Dexia’s management as saying that funding Judea and Samaria settlements was against the bank’s code of ethics.
Judea and Samarea local council heads called for the bank to be closed down, stating that any company that refused to give loans to settlements should not be allowed to make money from other authorities within Israel.
The leaders also called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu andto extend loans to local councils in the West Bank.