Rights group blasts Israeli banks for settlement expansion

A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2017
0

Rights group blasts Israeli banks for settlement expansion

JERUSALEM: A leading rights group says Israeli banks are contributing to the expansion of Jewish West Bank settlements by providing loans and mortgages for construction there.
A report by Human Rights Watch released Wednesday says no Israeli law requires the banks to provide such services for the settlements. It says the banks have continued to do so regardless of their human rights obligations. The group is calling on the banks to extricate themselves from the settlements or face the risk of action from shareholders.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war. Some 400,000 people now live in West Bank settlements, and about 200,000 Jewish Israelis live in east Jerusalem.
Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal and an obstacle to creating a Palestinian state.


Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count

Updated 44 min 9 sec ago
0

Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count

GAZA CITY: A baby who died near the Gaza border was not included in a Gaza health ministry list of Palestinians killed by the Israel army, after a dispute over how she died.
The ministry and family members originally said 8-month-old Leila Al-Ghandour had died after inhaling tear gas along the border during a day of clashes in which at least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.
The Israeli army disputed the claim, calling it “fake news” by Hamas, the movement that rules the coastal enclave.
The army claimed she had a pre-existing medical condition, citing an unnamed doctor with access to her file.
A full list of those the ministry called “martyrs,” published this week for the first time, did not include Ghandour.
The health ministry has said a full review of her death was underway.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesman for the ministry, said her name would not be included until the review was completed, without giving a time frame.
“Her name was not included in earlier lists either,” Qudra told AFP, though no exhaustive list had previously been made public.
“The investigation will determine (whether she had a pre-existing condition) and if the inhaled gas contributed to her death.”
At least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on May 14th when thousands of Palestinians protested as the US officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the ministry’s figures.
At least 114 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since mass demonstrations broke out on March 30th, it said.
This was several lower than previous tolls compiled by AFP on the basis of the ministry’s reports.
The ministry’s list does not include those whose bodies were not recovered by Palestinian medics.
The Israeli army is believed to have kept the bodies of several people shot near or along the border.
The army did not immediately respond to questions about the number of bodies it may be holding.