Middle East Monitor / January 31, 2023
Israeli banks impose higher interest rates on Palestinians citizens of Israel when compared to Jewish citizens of the occupation state.
The Finance Committee of the Israeli Knesset also revealed that the number of bank branches in Palestinian towns in Israel were far lower than in Jewish-only municipalities. Since the end of October 2020, there were 1,046 bank branches in total, including 628 branches in Jewish towns, and 312 branches in mixed towns and cities, compared to only 106 branches in Palestinian towns, cities and villages, Member of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi said.
“Even the area of banks in Arab [Palestinian] towns is less than the area of banks in mixed towns and Jewish towns. This is also reflected in the number of employees,” he added.
Tibi also addressed the data on the very high borrowing rate set for the Palestinian community: 56 per cent is the borrowing rate in the Palestinian community, compared to 42 per cent in the Jewish community. While the interest rate for Palestinian citizens of Israel is more than one per cent higher than that for Jewish citizens.
“There is clear economic discrimination towards Arabs [Palestinians] , and there is a significant shortage in the number of bank branches in the Negev [Naqab] region in particular… Despite the severe shortage of bank branches in Arab [Palestinian] towns, banks continue to restrict the development of the economy within the Arab [Palestinian] community, more bank branches are being closed, and the economy of the Arab [Palestinian] community continues to be affected.”
The racial discrimination in the Israeli banking system is also evident in the Central Bank of Israel, which employs more than 1,000 employees, all of whom are Jewish.
Numerous global human rights groups have highlighted Israel’s policy of apartheid and discrimination against Palestinians both in the occupied territories and within Israel itself. The banking system’s measures appear to only add to the measures which separate between members of society dependent on ethnicity and race.