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Palestine & Israel

Partial divestment not enough – Trócaire calls for the enactment of the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill

Arabiya Shawamreh, Anata, West Bank. Photo: Trócaire Arabiya Shawamreh, Anata, West Bank. Photo: Trócaire

Trócaire welcomes the decision by The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) that will see the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) divest its holdings in six Israeli companies that are listed on the UN Database of companies operating in Israel’s illegal settlements.

This decision means that Irish taxpayer money will no longer be invested in these Israeli companies that are clearly complicit in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and violations of international law.

These illegal settlements, built on Palestinian land in contravention of international law are a key driver of conflict and violence in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and have resulted in a myriad of human rights violations against the Palestinian population, while rendering sustainable and independent social and economic development for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory impossible to achieve.

However, Trócaire is concerned that NTMA have not yet indicated that they will divest from other companies listed on the UN Database in which ISIF have holdings, given that they too are profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land. These include household names such Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Booking and Expedia and Alstom, as well as Motorola Systems whose equipment and services are being used by the Israeli military in their current assault on the Gaza strip.

For this reason Trócaire will continue to call for the enactment of illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill, given that it strives to ensure that Irish taxpayer money is not invested in companies listed on the UN Database.

An independent fact-finding mission, established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights implications of the Israeli settlements in the oPt, reported in 2013 on how a range of business activities, involving both Israeli and foreign companies, facilitate, sustain and profit from the illegal settlements. This report led to the Human Rights Council requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to produce the UN Database.

It has been made clear by the UN, leading international non-governmental organisation experts in business and human rights, and local organisations that Trócaire works with in the oPt and Israel, that it is impossible for companies to operate in, or provide services to, Israeli settlements and simultaneously respect their obligations under the United Nations Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights. On the contrary, such companies, and those that support them through purchasing their services or by way of investments, run the risk of being indirectly complicit in human rights violations that stem from their actions.

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