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Activists urge UK to stop investing pension funds in Israeli firms operating in Palestinian territories Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Activists urge UK to stop investing pension funds in Israeli firms operating in Palestinian territories

Israel has occupied the West Bank [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 May, 2020

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UK Local Government Pension Schemes have invested more than £2 billion in companies that aid Israel's occupation.
The UK government pension scheme has invested more than £2 billion in blacklisted companies that endorse Israel's violations of international law against Palestinians, activists told The New Arab on Saturday.

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) has been investing pension funds in arms companies notorious for the manufacture of weapons used against civilians, as well as in firms that operate from Israel's illegal settlements, according to research released by the UK-based Palestine Solidarity (PSC) campaign.

The LGPS investments include firms listed in the UN Human Rights Office's list of companies active in Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"Since 2017, PSC has been fighting the UK Government in the courts over regulations that were introduced in 2016 that stop Local Government Pension Schemes from divesting from companies complicit in Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people, and additionally from divesting from the UK defence industry," Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign told The New Arab.

"In April, the Supreme Court ruled in our favour and the regulations are now finally and definitively declared illegal and thrown out."

Local councils East Sussex and Hackney's funds invest in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems.

During Israel's attack on the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014, Elbit's 7.5 Skylark, as well as its lethal UAV, the Hermes 900, were used.

The PSC urged participants in the scheme to speak out against the investments being made with their own payments.

Read also: Netanyahu says Palestinians in annexed lands will be under Israeli control while being denied citizenship

"Those in pension schemes can contact the chair of their pension fund committee and let them know that they won't tolerate their deferred wages being invested in companies that fund Israel's grave violations of international law,"  Jamal urged.

"Furthermore, PSC will be releasing more resources over the coming weeks, and scheme members will play a key role alongside PSC branches and our trade union allies to help grow campaigns targeting the pension funds, calling for an end to LGPS fund complicity," he added.

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