Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the decision by the Netherlands' largest pension fund management company to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements.
Martina Anderson said:
“I welcome the courageous decision by the Netherland’s largest pension fund PGGM who has withdrawn all its investments from Israeli Banks on the basis that settlement construction in the West Bank poses a problem from the standpoint of international law.
“The five largest Israeli banks have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements. The decision is liable to lead other business concerns in Europe to follow suit.
“This laudable decision by PGGM which came into effect on January 1st is line with opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2004, stating that settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal and violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. That article states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
“In accordance with PGGM policy of “social responsibility” it concluded that it would be impossible to create a firewall between its investments in Israeli banks and the banks’ activities in the territories therefore it has decided to withdraw its investments in Israel’s Banks .
“This is the latest decision by Dutch Companies in taking determined action against Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Over recent weeks, Dutch firms have engaged in a wave of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israeli firms. Last month, the Dutch water company Vitens announced that it was suspending cooperation with Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, given the latter’s operations in West Bank settlements. A few weeks earlier, another Dutch company cancelled a contract to build a sewage treatment plant that it had signed with Jerusalem’s water company, Hagihon, because the plant was to be located over the Green Line.
“I urge other EU investors to show the same “social responsibility” as PGGM and other Dutch companies in order to pressurise Israel to adhere to international law and the terms of dozens of UN resolutions which it has consistently ignored with impunity.”