Rights group denied funds because of 'occupied' address on form
Court bars Mercantile bank from returning money until it hands down a final ruling on legality of refusal.
Mercantile Discount Bank has refused to execute a bank transfer from a Spanish government agency to an Israeli human rights organization because the transfer form listed the organization's East Jerusalem address as being in "the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
Monday, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court issued an injunction barring the bank from returning the money to the donor until it hands down a final ruling on the legality of the bank's refusal. The injunction was issued in response to a suit by the intended recipient, the Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual.
The money, totaling over 100,000 euros, has been sitting in one of the bank's Tel Aviv branches since November 21. According to Hamoked, bank officials told it that had the form not included an address at all, the money would have been deposited in its account without delay.
A spokesman for Mercantile insisted that its action was legal, but said the rules of client confidentiality prevented it from elaborating.