Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has introduced a Bill designed to compel the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to divest itself of holdings in companies currently listed as operating within the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The legislation is seen as a natural succession to Teachta Brady’s 2021 motion on Annexation, when the Dáil became the first parliament to recognise that Israel’s illegal occupation was de facto annexation, and therefore a war crime.
The Wicklow TD said:
“In quite simple terms, the purpose of this Bill is to mandate the ISIF to divest itself of all current assets, and to prohibit future investments in any companies which operate in the illegal Israeli settlements, and which are included on the UN Database of companies.
“It is my intention that this Bill will end Ireland’s involvement in Israel’s illegal enterprises, and function as a catalyst for other European countries to follow, in the hope that we can end this system of oppression against the Palestinian people.
“The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) was established in late 1990, to manage the assets and liabilities of the Irish government. Part of its brief is to manage Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund, and the Irish national debt.
“It also has responsibility for the management of the ISIF, which is a sovereign wealth fund with a mandate to invest on a commercial basis to support economic activity in Ireland.
“The UN Human Rights Council published a database list of 112 companies that have identified as operating in breach of international law in the occupied territory.
“The ISIF has invested Irish taxpayers’ money in nine companies operating within illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“It is important to note that ISIF investments include four Israeli banks which are instrumental in facilitating the ongoing campaign of annexation, through the provision of funding and loans, the operation of ATMs in the illegal settlements and making the banks partners in settlement expansion.
“Through their actions the banks are aiding and abetting war crimes.
“By taking the decision to invest Irish taxpayers’ money into companies which are on the UN database, the government, through ISIF have made the Irish people stakeholders in the war crime that is the ongoing illegal annexation of Palestinian territories.
“Israeli settlements, their maintenance and expansion, are illegal under international law and amount to war crimes.
“In addition, Israeli settlements have resulted in a host of human rights violations against the Palestinian population, including the unlawful demolitions of homes and infrastructure, destruction of agricultural land, forced displacement, unlawful killings and more.
“The illegal settlements are also a key component of Israel’s apartheid regime, under which Israel administers the territory under two entirely separate legal systems and sets of institutions.
“Israeli, European, and international business enterprises operating with or providing services to Israeli settlements, play a critical role in facilitating the sustainability and growth of settlements.
“Business enterprises that are directly or indirectly involved in the Israeli settlement enterprise run a substantial risk of involvement in grave violations of international humanitarian law and internationally recognised crimes.”
Teachta Brady concluded:
“Having introduced the legislation yesterday at first stage, it is my intention to collaborate with my colleagues in Sinn Féin to bring the legislation to the Dáil chamber at second stage at the earliest opportunity.
“I will use the interim time to reach out across party lines, to both opposition and government parties, to ask for their support for this legislation.
“I do not believe that there are any TDs or Senators in the Dáil that wish to see Ireland associated with an enterprise which in the eyes of the world constitutes a war crime.
“It is critically important that the Dáil sends a message to other member states in the EU, and the wider world, that we are prepared to correct this situation, and end any state association with companies on the UN database which have broken international law.”
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