A SCOTTISH oil and gas giant has sent millions of dollars to a company accused of helping to maintain illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.

Ithaca Energy, headquartered in Aberdeen, paid out $266 million in dividends in the last financial quarter – much of which will be claimed by its parent firm Delek Group.

Delek was mentioned in a UN report last year as providing “services and utilities supporting the maintenance and existence of settlements” in Palestine.

Ithaca is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Delek, according to its most recent publicly available accounts.

It is the ninth biggest owner of North Sea oil licences and one of the main operators in the Rosebank oil field, the UK’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field which lies west of Shetland.

READ MORE: Rosebank oil field given go-ahead by regulator despite climate concerns

The UK Government sparked controversy last year by announcing it was giving the green light to the development of the oil field – estimated to contain up to 300m barrels of oil.

According to a trading update for quarter three of 2023, Ithaca said it had a dividend target of £400m and that it had already paid out $226m.

The occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank have seen an increase in settler violence against Palestinians since the beginning of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

In December last year, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 343 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties or property damages or both since October 7.

Some 276 had been killed since the outbreak of fighting in Gaza, said OCHA.

READ MORE: Israel plans to build thousands of new settlement homes in West Bank, says minister

“Continued fossil fuel extraction from the North Sea is already totally wrongheaded from an environmental perspective, but if North Sea oil profits are also being syphoned off to fund Israel’s illegal settlements then it’s a double outrage,” Peter Frankental, economic affairs director at Amnesty International UK told Novara Media – which first revealed that cash was flowing from the North Sea to the West Bank.

“Israel’s vast illegal settlements project is an integral part of its wider system of apartheid against the Palestinians and no North Sea oil licensee should have business links to the settlements and hope to hold onto their licence.

“The UK needs to ensure there’s proper even-handedness in how businesses are allowed to operate. If, for example, Delek had been supplying services to Russian-occupied Crimea rather than illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, then both it and its UK subsidiary Ithaca Energy would likely have been caught by the UK’s sanctions regime on Russia.

“Ministers must act on these reports, ensuring that there’s no corporate linkage between a major North Sea oil licensee and the Israeli settlements, not least when ministers themselves acknowledge that Israel’s settlements are completely illegal under international law.”

Neil Sammonds, from the campaign group War on Want, added: “The UK government is not only sacrificing our climate for corporate profit through North Sea Oil licences, but is giving an extra boost to businesses voraciously involved in Israel’s West Bank settlements, all illegal in international law.

“The UK Government should be sanctioning such companies, not rewarding them.”

Ithaca and Delek were approached for comment.