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JPMorgan warns of investment risk in Israel amid unprecedented turmoil

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A protestor holds a torch during a demonstration against proposed judicial overhaul by Israel's new right-wing cabinet, in Tel Aviv, Israeli-occupied territories, on January 28, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

American multinational financial services company JPMorgan Chase & Co. has warned of a growing risk of investment in the Israeli-occupied territories, citing protest plans by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right administration to overhaul the regime’s judicial system and weaken the Supreme Court.

“Israel’s local markets have seen a flare-up in idiosyncratic risk, as increased geopolitical tensions were added to investor concerns over plans for judicial reforms,” the New York City-headquartered company said in an internal memo first reported by Israel’s Channel 12 news. 

“The judicial reform has raised concerns regarding institutional strength and the investment climate in the country,” the memo added.

Friday’s memo went on to point to the “significant local protests” across the Israeli-occupied lands against the judicial overhaul.

In addition, it said investors should consider prolonged “geopolitical hostilities” stemming from the “less centrist tilt” of the current Israeli cabinet.

The memo said Netanyahu’s plans could lead to a downgrade of the Tel Aviv regime’s credit rating, comparing Israel to Poland, which passed its own judicial reforms in 2016 and suffered a downgrade.

The report comes as protests have taken place around the occupied Palestinian territories since Netanyahu's move to overhaul the judiciary. 

Opponents argue that the legal changes threaten the independence of judges and weaken oversight of the ruling administration and parliament. They also say the plans will undermine the rights of minorities and open the door to more corruption.

Politicians from Netanyahu’s Likud party have long accused the Israeli supreme court of being dominated by leftist judges. They claim that the judges encroach on areas outside their authority for political reasons.

Last December, representatives of Israel's high tech sector addressed an open letter to Netanyahu, saying that “making common cause with extremists” such as minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir and far-right politician Bezalel Smotrich could severely hamper Israel's standing as a tech hub. 

Separately, the Israeli regime has been struck by soaring tensions in the occupied West Bank.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East al-Quds last year, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others were injured as well.

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