Israeli banks are seeking broader legal protection from the risks involved with doing business with Palestinian lenders, according to people familiar with the matter.
Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank are in talks with Israel’s government to secure financial indemnity and immunity should they become embroiled in domestic suits or criminal investigations involving money laundering using the Palestinian lenders they do business with, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.
The two firms clear all Palestinian banking transactions because of the common reliance on the shekel, Israel’s currency. Earlier this year, Israeli authorities granted the banks immunity from potential lawsuits involving cases of terror financing, the people said. Israeli lenders are compelled to provide services to their Palestinian counterparts following an accord signed in 1994 that regulates financial relationships between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Yaacov Benmeleh