Investigating and Taking Action Against Illegal Financing of Palestinian Settlements on Kurdish Lands in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava)

By. Sherzad MamSani


We write with profound concern about recent developments that have come to our attention, shedding light on a matter that strikes at the core of our values—peace, justice, and adherence to international law. The establishment of illegal settlements on Kurdish land and the reported use of an Israeli bank in financial transactions related to these activities demand immediate attention. As supporters of these principles, we earnestly urge the Israeli government to initiate a comprehensive investigation and take decisive action to halt the transfer of funds associated with these illegal activities. The situation is deeply troubling. It has come to our knowledge that the Palestinian Living in Dignity Association has played a role in assisting Palestinians in constructing settlements on Kurdish lands following the occupation of the Kurdish city of Afrin by Turkish forces in Rojava. Disturbing reports indicate the involvement of the State of Qatar and Turkey in supporting these efforts. Of particular concern is a recent announcement by the syndicate, made on Facebook, advertising the sale of 100 housing units in a new settlement near the village of “Maarata,” located to the west of Afrin. What compounds this concern is that prospective buyers are directed to a non-governmental Israeli bank account—Bank Hapoalim. The involvement of a non-governmental Israeli bank, especially one that has previously been associated with illegal construction of settlements in Kurdish Afrin, in facilitating financial transactions for settlements within Kurdish territory is deeply troubling on multiple fronts. It not only raises profound ethical questions but also undermines the bedrock principles of international law and justice. The funds generated from these activities may contribute to heightened instability in the already-turbulent region, further exacerbating existing tensions. Moreover, we are acutely aware of the prior involvement of the “Living in Dignity” association in establishing settlements, such as the “Basma settlement” in the Yazidi village of Shadir, with support from Kuwait and Turkey. Equally concerning is the displacement of no fewer than 1,535 Palestinian families to Afrin following the Turkish takeover of the region. The repercussions of these actions on the rights and well-being of multiple communities cannot be overstated. In light of these developments, we call upon the Government of Israel to: 1. Initiate a Thorough Investigation: The Israeli government must commence a rigorous investigation into financial transactions linked to the establishment of settlements on Kurdish lands. It is imperative to verify the accuracy of the information presented and ascertain the extent of involvement. 2. Take Immediate Action: If it is found that the aforementioned bank account (Bank Hapoalim) is linked to these illegal settlements, immediate and decisive action must be taken to prevent the further transfer of funds facilitating these activities. 3. Reaffirm Commitment to International Law: The Israeli government must reaffirm its steadfast commitment to international law and the principles of justice. It is essential to take all necessary measures to prevent any inadvertent involvement in activities that contravene these principles. As advocates for peace and justice, we believe that addressing this issue in a transparent and responsible manner is of paramount importance to uphold the values that both Israel and the international community hold dear. As the Kurdish people, we have experienced our fair share of challenges and remain steadfastly committed to peaceful coexistence, mirroring the principles upheld by the State of Israel. We earnestly appeal to the Israeli government to give the utmost gravity to this matter and prevent any further harm to the communities directly affected. In doing so, we can work together to promote a more peaceful and just world for all.

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