Settlement Industry

Companies involved in the settlement industry depend on and benefit from the illegal confiscation of occupied resources and from the discriminatory legal regime in the occupied territories.

Between 1967 and 2016, Israel has built 132 settlements in the occupied West Bank, with a population of almost 400,000 settlers. An additional 200,000 settlers live in neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, a part of the West Bank that Israel officially annexed immediately after the 1967 war. In addition, there are about a hundred smaller settlement “outposts” in the occupied West Bank that were built without official government approval, but still receive tacit approval and support. In the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israel annexed by law in 1981, there are some 30 Jewish-only settlements, with about 22,000 residents.

Regardless of their status under Israeli law, all the above settlement activities violate Israel's obligations as an occupying power under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its nationals into the territory it occupies. As early as 1979, UN Security Council Resolution 446 determined that the Israeli settlements in Palestine and the Golan Heights “have no legal validity.” In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank “have been established in breach of international law.” In 2016, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 determined that the settlements constitute “a flagrant violation under international law.” The Resolution called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities,” and called on all other states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

The UN proclaimed responsibilities of states for internationally wrongful acts include an obligation to refrain from recognizing as lawful a situation created by a serious breach of international law. To avoid recognizing the settlements as legal, many states differentiate in their policies between the State of Israel and activities that happen in its illegal settlements. The European Union’s policies, for example, explicitly exclude settlement-based entities and activities from receiving EU funding, and require settlement products to be clearly labeled as such. US customs regulations similarly mandate that goods produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip and imported to the US shall not be labeled as “Made in Israel.”

In addition to state obligations, businesses also have responsibilities with regard to their operation in settlements. In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council issued a report on the the implications of the Israeli settlements on the rights of the Palestinian people. The report, which also examined the impact of businesses, called on companies to “assess the human rights impact of their activities and take all necessary steps - including by terminating their business interests in the settlements - to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people.” In 2016, UN Human Rights Council Resolution 31/36 called on companies “to avoid contributing to the establishment or maintenance of Israeli settlements or the exploitation of natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” In the same resolution, the Human Rights Council requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce a database of all companies involved in such activities. In 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner reported to have identified 206 such companies.

Corporate involvement in the settlement industry includes:

  • Settlement construction - companies that have participated in the building of housing units or infrastructure projects in or for settlements, that have financed such projects, or that have been active in the settlement real estate market.
  • Business activities in settlement - companies with factories, storage facilities, or retail stores in settlements or in the settlement industrial zones in the West Bank.
  • Settlement services - companies that provide vital services that help sustain settlements such as communication, transportation, waste management, etc.

The American Friends Service Committee maintains that people should have the right to build and live anywhere, but not as a result of unwarranted land confiscation and illegal settlements. AFSC’s investment policy precludes investment in companies that “provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or that “establish facilities or operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”


Related databases and resources

More Information about Publicly-Traded Companies
Switzerland

A Swedish-Swiss multinational manufacturer of robotics, power, electrical equipment, and automation technologies. Its equipment is used in solar energy fields in the occupied West Bank.

Israel

An Israeli security firm that specializes in military intelligence and cyber security. Operates out of an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

A Spanish multinational construction company specialized in civil and engineering construction. Its subsidiary SEMI participated in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway, which is partially built on occupied Palestinian territory.

An Israeli company specializing in control and automation technologies for electromechanical systems and infrascuctures. Supplied metal detectors to military checkpoints in the West Bank and Involved in the Jerusalem light rail project, which connects Jerusalem with the illegal settlements around it.

One of the largest construction and real estate companies in Israel. Has been involved in multiple construction projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A French multinational power and transportation company. Involved in the Jerusalem light rail project, which is partially built in occupied East Jerusalem.

Netherlands

A Dutch multinational telecommunications company. Its Israeli subsidiary HOT has facilities in and provides telecommunication services to most illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Supplies and markets products for the Israeli agricultural industry. Has two branches in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A Singaporean manufacturer of video management products and services. Its video content analysis tools are used  for perimeter surveillance by illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One of the largest construction and real estate companies in Israel. Carried out residential and infrastructure projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Involved in the construction of military checkpoints, the West Bank separation wall, and the Ofer military prison. Operates two quarries in the West Bank.

A Swedish manufacturer of industrial-scale tools and equipment. Its products were used in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway, which is partially built on occupied Palestinian territory.

An Israeli producer of nonwoven fabrics for the global hygene market, including to Procter & Gamble. Its factory is located in an industrial zone in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli investment firm. Has major holdings in several companies doing business in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

An Israeli construction and real estate company. Has been involved in multiple construction projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

An Israeli bank specializing in real estate financing and investing. Financed the construction of housing projects and has branches in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli engineering company. Participated in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway, which is is partially built in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's largest telecommunications company. Has infrastructure throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and Golan Heights. Services all illegal settlements as well as military bases and checkpoints.

An Israeli construction firm specializing in large-scale metal infrascructure projects. Its subsidiary Pelegas has a facility in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. Its subsidiary Carmor designed an armored vehicle specifically for the needs of the Israeli military occupation.

A telecommunication, security, and infrastructure company. Its surveillance systems are used in military bases and checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Company products are installed in multiple wepaons systems used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians.

A venture capital investment firm. One of its companies, Meytag High Tech Ventures, is located in an illegal settlement in the occupied Golan Heights.

One of Israel's largest apparel retailer. Has a store in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational manufacturer of heavy engineering machinery. Its equipment is customized for the use of the needs of the Israeli military occupation and is used in home demolitions, the construction of the West Bank and Gaza walls, and the construction of illegal settlements.

Israel's largest provider of cellular phone services. Has hundreds of antennas and other communications facilities in the occupied Palestinian territory and Golan Heights. Provides telecommunication services to multiple illegal settlements and military bases.

A Mexican multinational manufacturer and distributor of cement, concrete, and other construction materials. Has factories in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Its materials has been used to build multiple military checkpoints and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Italian manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment. Its equipment has been used to demolish Palestinian homes under military occupation and for the construction of the West Bank separation wall and illegal settlements.

Canada

A Canadian multinational beverage and food service company. Its Israeli subsidiary Eden Springs extracts water from the occupied Golan Heights and is headquartered there.

An Israeli multinational conglomerate of energy, automotive, insurance, and real estate companies. Operates gas stations and convenience stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

A leading Israeli textile manufacturer. Has several retail branches in Illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A major Israeli bank specializing in credit for local municipalities. Financed the construction of public projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in settlements.

South Korea

A Korean multinational conglomerate of power, desalination, heavy machinery, and construction companies. Its subsidiary Bobcat has been used in the construction of the West Bank separation wall and infrastrucure projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One of Israel's largest gas companies. Has gas stations anf convenience stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational IT company, born as the merger of CSC with a division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Operates the Israeli discriminatory population registry. Has a R&D center in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel

An Israeli conglomerate of infrastructure, engineering, real estate, and construction companies. involved in multiple construction and infrastructure projects in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A major Israeli bank. Financed the construction of housing projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in settlements.

A group of IT companies. Its subsidiary Matrix IT operates in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. Its subsidiary TGS developed the Israeli military's command and control system.

A Chinese multinational conglomerate with real estate, healthcare, tourism, insurance, wealth management, and manufacturing businesses. Its cosmetics subsidiary AHAVA excavates minerals and operates a visitor center in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational manufacturer of major food brands. One of the factories making its Pillsbury product line is located in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen products. One of its factories is located in the occupied West Bank.

The world's largest cement producer and a leader in the production of aggregates. Operates quarries and manufacturing facilities in the occupied West Bank. Its products have been used to build and expand illegal settlements.

An Israeli real estate company, specializes in properties for industrial or commercial use. Owns industrial spaces in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

One of Israel's largest banks. Financed the construction of housing projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in illegal settlements.

An Israeli real estate company. Owns industrial and commercial spaces in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Netherlands

A Dutch multinational real estate company. Its Israeli subsidiary Tahal designs sewage infrastructure for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel

An Israeli development and construction company. Conducted infrastructure work in military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail system in the occupied West Bank.

One of Israel's largest IT companies. Operates a facility in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli provider of logistics and import-export services. Discriminates in shipping services to Palestinians and has a facility in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel

Israel's largest grower and exporter of citrus and other fruits and vegetables. Owns orchards and processing facilities in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

An Israeli development, construction and real estate company. Builds residential and commercial projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli construction engineering company. Builds large scale infrastructure and residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A major Israeli bank. Financed the construction of multiple illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Has branches in illegal settlements. Discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

An Israeli development and construction company. Constructs residential and commercial projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US data and telecommunications equipment manufacturer. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and the separation wall in the occupied West bank, and it is used by the Israeli military, police, and prison service.

A US investment and asset management firm specializing in distressed companies. Bought Veolia's operations in Israel, including a dump site in the occupied West Bank and a wastewater facility that serves illegal settlements.

One of Israel's largest IT companies. Its subsidiary Tescom has facilities in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel

An Israeli manufacturer of electronic detection systems. Its equipment is installed in the separation wall and illegal settlement roads in the occupied West Bank.

One of the largest Israeli providers of cellular phone services. Has hundreds of antennas and other communications facilities in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Services illegal settlements and military bases in the occupied West Bank.

The largest gas and energy supplier in Israel. Operates gas stations in and supplies cooking gas to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Part of a duopoly with exclusive rights to supply gas to the Gaza strip.

Israel’s third largest grocery store chain. Owns real estate and operates stores in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One of the world’s largest real estate companies. Sells and rents real estate in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Has a franchised office in a settlement.

An Israeli development and construction firm. Builds residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel’s largest industrial bread company. Has bakeries in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli infrastructure and construction company. Builds infrastructure and residential projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and has a factory a factory in a settlement. Involved in building military checkpoints and the Gaza wall.

Israel

Israel’s largest grocery store chain. Has branches and other facilities in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Distributes settlement products under its own brand.

Germany

A German multinational conglomerate in the electronics and industrial engineering industries. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlement roads and a the railway tracks in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli solar power company. Its systems are installed in  illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US manufacturer of trucks and construction equipment. Its products have been used in the construction of the separation wall and railway tracks in the occupied West Bank.

A Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer. Its vehicles are used by the Israeli security forces and have been involved in guarding illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and in executing home demolitions.

An Israeli industrial and residential real estate and logistics company. Owns logistics centers and other facilities in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Sweden

A Swedish manufacturer of cars, trucks, buses, construction equipment, and industrial engines. Its equipment has been used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of illegal settlements and of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank. Its buses are serving settlements and transport political prisoners.

A Canadian management and consulting firm that specializes in engineering projects. Involved in the planning of the Israel railway system that crosses into the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli development and construction company. Constructed parts of the separation wall and residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli development and construction company. Built residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.