May 11, 2023
Sinn Féin advances bill to force government to surrender shares in companies operating in occupied Palestine – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD John Brady will advance his Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill to second stage in the Dáil on Tuesday.

If passed, it would compel the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to divest shareholdings in companies listed on a UN database of businesses operating within illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. 

It follows Sinn Féin’s 2021 motion when the Dáil became the first parliament in the EU to recognise Israel’s illegal occupation as an annexation, and therefore a war crime.

This Monday marks the 75th anniversary of Nakba – meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic – when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war. 

Nakba Day commemorates these traumatic events, and raises awareness of the current plight facin Palestinian refugees and their families. The symbolism of passing this legislation the day after the 75th anniversary would send a real message of Ireland’s commitment to Palestinian human rights. 

Teachta Brady said:

“The purpose of the Bill, to be debated in the Dáil the day after the 75th anniversary of Nakba, is to mandate the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to divest itself of all assets, and to prohibit future investments in any companies, included on the UN Database of companies that operate within the illegal Israeli settlements.

“The Irish Strategic Investment Fund, managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), has invested Irish taxpayers’ money in nine of the 112 companies contained in the UN Database identified as operating in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in breach of international law.

“The Irish Strategic Investment Fund’s investments include four Israeli banks instrumental in facilitating the ongoing campaign of annexation through the provision of funding and loans, and the operation of ATMs in illegal settlements. These banks are partners in settlement expansion, and are aiding and abetting war crimes.

“By investing Irish taxpayers’ money in such companies, the government has made Irish people stakeholders in war crimes in the ongoing illegal annexation of Palestinian territories. 

“Israeli settlements, their maintenance and expansion, are illegal under international law and amount to war crimes.

“They have resulted in countless human rights violations against Palestinians, including unlawful demolitions of homes and infrastructure, destruction of agricultural land, forced displacement, unlawful killings and more.

“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.

“Businesses directly or indirectly involved in the Israeli settlement enterprise run a substantial risk of involvement in grave violations of international humanitarian law.

“While Ireland has been critical of ongoing expansion of illegal settlements, Irish taxpayers have been made shareholders in the actions that we, as legislators, across all parties and none, in the Dáil unanimously decreed as illegal. 

“This legislation would align Ireland’s strategic investments with its political policies and, crucially, embed them within international law.

“It is imperative 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 that have broken international law.” 

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