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Investing in Israeli settlements continues “cycle of violence” — Desmond Tutu

tutu.jpg

Fierce apartheid critic Desmond Tutu has denounced businesses that aid repression. (Joshua Wanyama)

Other victories have received less publicity.

The Swedish fund KPA Pension, for example, has published an exclusion list on its website featuring a number of Israeli banks and telecommunications firms, the weapons manufacturer Elbit and Alstom, a French corporation that has been involved in building a light rail system linking up Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

KPA manages the pensions of more than a million people working in local government.

Sweden’s state pension fund AP7, meanwhile, has excluded the technology giant Hewlett-Packard because of its provision of surveillance technology to Israel, as well as Cemex, a Mexican company which has been quarrying in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Enabling war crimes

AP7 is not as clean as it would have us believe, however.

In August, the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet complained that AP7 is continuing to invest in3 Israeli banks.

According to the paper, this was not compatible with the views of most Swedes, who wanted pension funds to respect ethical principles.

Similarly, the third largest Dutch pension fund ABP has a €51 million ($64 million) stake in 3 Israel banks: Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot. All three of these banks finance settlements in the West Bank.

The construction of Israeli settlements breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to war crimes.

ABP is under pressure to ditch these enablers of war crimes. Around 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on it to do so.

Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, has written to ABP’s board contending that investing in Israeli institutions that lend to repressive and illegal projects “helps perpetuate the cycle of violence.”

“Respect the UN”

ABP could follow the example set by another Dutch pension fund, BPL.

A list published by BPL for 2013 states that it has excluded the three aforementioned Israeli banks, along with Alstom and Veolia (the major player in the East Jerusalem tramway).

Gerard Roest, BPL’s chairman, told me that the decisions to exclude these firms were taken because the fund is guided by international standards on human rights. “The UN is a kind of world government and we should respect its decisions,” he said.

A UN fact finding mission on the Israeli occupation stated last year:

“A number of banks provide mortgage loans for home buyers and special loans for building projects in settlements. They also provide financial services to businesses in settlements and, in some cases, are physically present there.”

Richard Falk, a former UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza, has warned that “financial institutions and real estate companies may be held criminally accountable for their involvement with illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.”

Pension funds that keep on investing in Israel can be sure that they will come under pressure from people of conscience throughout the world. Support for war crimes will result in damage to their reputations.

Desmond Tutu: Save The International Criminal Court (ICC) 

In 2 days, African leaders could vote to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, crippling one of the world’s best hopes for confronting genocide and crimes against humanity. I know together we can stop this. Join me in urging the voices of reason within the African Union to stand up for justice and accountability — let’s protect this great institution:

SIGN THE PETITION

In just 2 days time, African leaders could kill off a great institution, leaving the world a more dangerous place.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity.

The leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences.

I know that together we can change this.

We have to join hands and call on the voices of reason at the African Union (AU) – Nigeria and South Africa – to speak out and ensure that the persecuted are protected by the ICC.

In my years of work, life and travel, the fight for justice has been a long and arduous one. I have seen the very worst in Darfur and Rwanda, but also the very best with the reconciliation in South Africa.

During this journey, I have seen great gains made that protect the weak from the strong and give us all hope. The ICC is one of these beacons of hope.

This threat to the ICC started precisely because the court was doing its job. It charged Kenya’s Deputy President for killing people who rallied against him during an election and Sudan’s President for murdering women and children in Darfur.

Now Kenya and Sudan are lobbying all of Africa to pull out of the court and destroy its chance of success.

But in Darfur, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya, the ICC has played a key role in bringing hope to those terrified by the armies, militias and madmen that have waged war against the innocent. It’s a light in the darkness that cannot be allowed to go out.

The main argument by some leaders with a guilty conscience is that the ICC is a Western witch-hunt as most of the investigations have happened in Africa. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The the ICC was an institution that was created by 20 African countries, 5 of the court’s 18 judges are African and the chief prosecutor is African.

Friday is a key judgement day. 
Will our African leaders stand on the side of justice or injustice? With survivors and fallen victims or with tyrants and oppressors?

This is the moment to choose. Join me in calling on African leaders to stand on the side of justice and support the International Criminal Court:

I’ve seen some of the brightest moments in human history, moments where we together brought hope to so many. This is our chance to do that again, together.

Join me by adding your name to the petition now and share it with everyone — when we have hit 1 million our petition will be delivered straight into the AU conference hall where Africa’s leaders are meeting in Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia).

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_africa_icc/?bFAfecb&v=30068

With hope and appreciation for this community,

Desmond Tutu

Note: So far, the ICC has been manipulated by the superpower forces to reach political objectives. However, it is an excellent tool to any public criminal who still believe that the superpowers will save him in the long run from justice, as politics is ever changing, and the ICC will be called upon to deliver “justice”.

More information:

Botswana Supports International Criminal Court (Voice of America)
http://www.voanews.com/content/botswana-supports-international-criminal-court/1764960.html

130 Groups Across Africa Call for Countries to Back ICC (Human Rights Watch)
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/07/130-groups-across-africa-call-countries-back-icc

Kenya pushing for African split from International Criminal Court (Irish Times)
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/kenya-pushing-for-african-split-from-international-criminal-court-1.1549427

Annan defends International Criminal Court (News 24)
http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Annan-defends-International-Criminal-Court-20131007

Africa to debate ICC role amid growing opposition (Yahoo News)
http://news.yahoo.com/africa-debate-icc-role-amid-growing-opposition-103053710.html


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2020
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