ePetition details

Herts Local Government Pension Scheme and Palestinian Human Rights

We the undersigned petition the County Council to request Herts Local Government Pension Scheme (HLGPS) to examine its investments. We are dismayed that HLGPS has investments in firms which supply arms and equipment to the Israeli military enforcing the military occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem (ongoing for over 50 years) and the blockade of Gaza. The Israeli military fails to defend Palestinians, their homes and property from attacks by illegal settlers, violates Palestinian human rights and protects illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The Gaza blockade is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment. The HLGPS may also have investments in firms listed by the UN Human Rights Office as operating illegally in the West Bank. We call on the Herts County Council to request HLGPS to withdraw all such investments and to refrain from any such investments in future

Israel is engaged in grave violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. This includes the military occupation and settlement of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, confirmed as illegal by the UN Security Council, and the UK government, and the inhumane land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, deemed a flagrant violation of international human rights and humanitarian law by UN experts.
The TUC passed an important motion on Israel’s annexation plans at its 2020 conference and a number of trade unions alongside charities and faith leaders called for public bodies to end any complicity with Israel’s violations of international law
The Herts LGPS has investments in several companies whose products, equipment or services are used by Israel in its military occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza. These companies include (as at Nov 2020): Albemarle Corporation, GKN, HSBC, Meggitt, Rolls Royce, and Ultra Electronics, to a combined value of over £42 million.
One of these has connections to the supply of projectiles containing white phosphorus, as deployed by the Israeli Army in Gaza in 2009 in contravention of international law. Another invests in Caterpillar, whose bulldozers build settlements and the Separation Wall, besides being weaponised and used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes. Others supply equipment, engines or systems used in helicopters, and military aircraft.
For further information go to this website and ask to display the information for Hertfordshire.
The February 2020 report A/HRC/43/71 of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) contained in section VI a database of 112 firms who have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the illegal settlements. UNHRC has established that these firms are complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights carried out by the Israeli government and military. The majority of companies named are domiciled in Israel, but some from the UK, US, France and the Netherlands are also noted. Those from the UK are JC Bamford Excavators Ltd, Opodo Ltd, and Greencote PLC. UNHRC also listed (in section III) a number of business activities and related issues that raise particular human rights concerns.
Quoting key statements from the UK Department of Trade advice to companies transacting business with firms operating in the settlements: “There are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity. Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements ……… entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory ………UK citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of involvement ……Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice.”
Amnesty International has also advised about the human rights and reputational issues of the trade in goods and services in the settlements in its Think Twice report.

Started by: David Leigh (Herts Palestine Support Coalition)

This ePetition runs from 08/02/2021 to 31/08/2021.

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