THE PEACE message frequently peddled by Bono has invariably been aligned with a western political agenda but a recent move by the singer saw him benefit from a financial deal funded by a bank entwined with those Israeli heroes that occupy and settle on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Bono, The Edge and business partner Paddy McKillen Snr have just sold the Clarence Hotel to the Dean Hotel Group, owned by Paddy McKillen Jnr and Matt Ryan. The musicians bought the hotel in 1992 and famously performed ‘Beautiful Day’ on the rooftop for Top of the Pops in 2000.

Not so famously, the pair have now made what most assume to be many millions from the hotel sale, facilitated by Bank Leumi UK in the form of a €43m loan. The financial and other media reported the sale and, while unable to say what profit the musicians made, referred in one account to their “windfall”.

What the media did not report, although they could have, was that Bank Leumi UK – owned by Bank Leumi Le-Israel – has been profiting from Israel’s breach of the Geneva Convention in occupied Palestinian territory. According to David Cronin in the Electronic Intifada, the bank has been providing finance for many large projects in settlements in the occupied West Bank and is listed in a United Nations database of companies making profits from Israel’s occupation of the territory.

As the bank explains: “Leumi means ‘national’. It’s a reflection of the role we have played in the foundation and support of the State of Israel over the last century… At the end of the 19th century, renowned writer and political activist Theodore Ze’ev Herzl and several colleagues founded the Jewish national movement – Zionism. To support the new movement, Herzl identified the need for a financial institution to serve it. That led to the creation of the Jewish Colonial Trust… This was the forerunner to Bank Leumi.”

Bono is not completely unaware of the situation in Palestine. Shortly after the Hamas attack at a dance festival in Israel, he told the crowd at a concert in Las Vegas: “In the light of what’s happened in Israel and Gaza, a song about non-violence seems somewhat ridiculous, even laughable, but our prayers have always been for peace and for non-violence. But our hearts and our anger, you know where that’s pointed. So, sing with us… and those beautiful kids at that music festival.”

Ozone 12-15-23

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