Israel’s Hapoalim Bank is working with a Palestinian association which is constructing new settlements in the Kurdish-majority town of Afrin in north Syria, according to a Facebook post from Saturday.
The Living with Dignity Association in its Facebook post directs potential buyers of properties in a 100-house residential village in Turkish-controlled Afrin to an account in Israel’s second-largest bank.
The association said that a “reliable Turkish association” had granted the land with all the infrastructure, including water and sewage lines, for the Mubarak project, built three kilometres from Afrin city. The land in fact belongs to a Kurdish family, the North Press Agency said, citing a local newspaper.
Since its occupation by Turkish-backed rebels in 2018, thousands of Kurds have left Afrin, while nearly 500,000 Arabs displaced from other parts of Syria have flocked into the area. According to local sources, Ankara is using new settlements to permanently change the demographics of the city, which lies on the border with Turkey.
The Palestinian association, known for defending the indigenous residents of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood from expulsion by Israeli settlers, has been active in establishing new settlements in Afrin.
The association has also constructed a settlement in a Yazidi village, with funds secured from Kuwait and Turkey, as well as from Muslim Brotherhood-linked associations from the United States and Britain, according to North Press.
Meanwhile, Hapoalim is known for providing loans for the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights.