One of Israel's largest banks. It is deeply involved in the expansion of Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
First International Bank is one of the largest banks in Israel. It is controlled by holding company F I B I Holding Ltd.
For decades, the bank has been facilitating the expansion of Israel's illegal settlement enterprise by routinely providing loans to settlement construction projects. As documented by Who Profits, between 2017 and 2021 alone, First International Bank and its subsidiary Bank Ostar HaHayal granted such loans to multiple construction companies for building hundreds of housing units in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
The bank also finances infrastructure projects in service of Israel's illegal settlements. For example, the bank was part of a consortium of financial institutions, led by Bank Hapoalim, that financed the expansion of the Jerusalem Light Rail. The rail system cuts through occupied Palestinian land and connects illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem with the western part of the city. First International Bank also financed infrastructure work on several highways that cut through the occupied Palestinian territory and connect illegal settlements, as well as the construction of a parking lot for buses operating in an illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
In addition to financing construction, the bank also provides loans to and manages municipal accounts on behalf of illegal Israeli settlement councils. Through its subsidiary Bank Ostar HaHayal, First International Bank has provided financial services to at least four illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and one in the occupied Golan Heights.
First International Bank, along with its subsidiaries Bank Ostar HaHayal and Massad Bank, operate several branches in illegal Israeli settlements and inside bases of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.
This bank was included on the 2020 United Nations database of companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- In July 2021, Norway's largest pension fund KLP announced that it would divest assets in 16 companies that "contribute[d] to violations of human rights in war and conflict situations through their affiliation with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank." The companies that KLP named include Alstom, Altice Europe, Ashtrom, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, Bezeq, Cellcom, Delek, Electra, Energix Renewable Energies, First Interntional Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Motorola, Partner, and Paz Oil Company. KLP held investments totaling approximately $31.8 million in the companies at the time of its decision.
- In March 2021, the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the NZ Super Fund, divested from five Israeli banks (including First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot) because of the banks' fianancing of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory.
- In November 2020, San Francsico State University's student government passed a resolution calling for the university to pull out of investments in companies that do business in Israeli settlements, referencing the 112 companies linked to the illegal settlements in Palestine as listed by the United Nations.
- In October 2020, Fresno State University’s student government voted in favor of a divestment resolution calling for the university to divest from the 112 companies linked to the illegal settlements in Palestine, as listed by the United Nations.
- On January 12, 2016, the United Methodist Church’s Pension Board, one of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., placed five Israeli Banks on its divestment list, claiming that these companies “pose excessive human rights risks.” The five banks are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.
- Dutch pension fund PFZW excluded the First International Bank of Israel in 2014, citing its role in “financing... settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
- In February 2014, Luxembourg's national pension fund excluded the bank because of its “financing illegal settlements in occupied territories (State of Palestine).”