Dutch pension fund asset manager PGGM has stopped investing in five Israeli banks that are financing construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. These settlements are deemed illegal under international law. As always, it’s good to see more organisations taking steps to put pressure on Israel through BDS.
Read their announcement below:
PGGM – Statement regarding exclusion of Israeli banks
PGGM recently decided to no longer invest in five Israeli banks, namely Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. For several years PGGM has been in dialogue with these banks. The reason for this engagement was their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. This was a concern, as the settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered illegal under international humanitarian law. Moreover, international observers have indicated that the settlements constitute an important obstacle to a peaceful (two-state) solution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
In 2004 the International Court of Justice concluded in an Advisory Opinion that the settlements in the Palestinian territories are in breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Population in Time of War. This article prohibits an occupying power to transfer its own citizens to occupied territory. International bodies, including the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council have adopted various broadly supported resolutions, which state that the settlements are considered illegal. Israel disputes this interpretation of the applicability of international law.
In line with the Responsible Investment policy a dialogue has taken place with the before mentioned banks. Engagement is an important tool to allow PGGM to act as a responsible owner on behalf of its clients. The dialogue showed however that, given the day-to-day reality and domestic legal framework they operate in, the banks have limited to no possibilities to end their involvement in the financing of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Therefore, it was concluded that engagement as a tool to bring about change will not be effective in this case. As concerns remain and changes are not expected in the foreseeable future, PGGM no longer invests in the companies concerned as of January 1st 2014.
PGGM continues its dialogue with a small number of other companies on the same issue and will report on progress through its regular reporting.
PDF File of statement: Statement PGGM exclusion Israeli banks
Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our time. A man who even after spending 27 years in prison showed no bitterness, but forgiveness. A true legacy, and I doubt there will ever be such an individual in our lifetime. May he rest in peace and may his influence continue and help those who are oppressed.
The Independent published an article by Gil Hilel, an IDF soldier who served in a Sahlav unit at Hebron in 2001-2003, who has decided to speak out about her experiences as an IDF soldier.
It led me to discover a very interesting organisation, Breaking the Silence. They are an organisation composed of veteran IDF soldiers who collect testimonies from soldiers about their past service in the occupied Palestinian territories. There are some shocking stories on here, and some stories which confirm information which most of us who choose not to get blinded by corporate controlled media are already aware of. I strongly recommend browsing through it.
Here is a video of Gil Hilel speaking for Breaking the Silence.
You can read the full article after the jump, or by visiting the article on The Independent linked above.
Ramadan has come to an end, and I would like to wish Eid Mubarak to all my readers.
There are reports, coming in both on Twitter and via Maan, a Palestinian news outlet, that all communications have been cut in Gaza.
Initial reports suggest that Israeli bulldozers had caused the communications network to go down at the Gaza Strip after cutting the line connecting area of Nahal Oz. International and local telecommunications, internet and mobile telecommunications are reported to be down, as a result cutting off all communication into Gaza.
This is confirmed by reports on twitter #GazaBlackout.
It is yet unknown whether this is intentional or accidental, however it is important ensure media attention is received as all eyes are on the UK riots and last thing we want is the people of Gaza who are under their 1518th day of siege to go unnoticed.
UPDATE: Maan English Report
UPDATE: Further reports on twitter #GazaBlackout suggesting that calls to landlines within Gaza are working, just nothing international.