PGGM divests from Israeli banks
Bank Track website, www.banktrack.org, reported in January 2014, that Dutch pension fund PGGM had announced on its website that it had withdrawn tens of million of Euros worth of invesments from five Israeli banks. The fund cited the banks' unethical and illegal practices in the West Bank.
PGGM said in statement that it had been in discussions with Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, the First International Bank of Israel, the Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank for several years but had failed to convince them to reconsider their financial backing for Israel's West Bank settlements which "are considered illegal under international humanitarian law".
PGGM said "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." This was a reference to 2011 Israeli legislation which outlawed any form of boycott, rendering it a legal tort - something punishable with potentially heavy fines.
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