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British Local Council Pensions .. The chicken that lays eggs for the Israeli occupation

In this report, Al-Jazeera Net monitors the most important data on investments that pass through the pension system of the British local councils to companies operating in the settlements, including those involved in human rights violations.

استثمار المجالس المحلية البريطانية في شركات عاملة مع الاحتلال يبلغ 3.5 مليارات جنيه إسترليني (غيتي إيميجز)

British local councils' investment in companies operating with the occupation amounting to 3.5 billion pounds (Getty Images)

Weeks after the historic ruling of the British Supreme Court ruling that the government’s decision to direct the local councils to invest in companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories and stop all forms of boycott, the Al Jazeera Net website received data on the investments that pass through the pension system of the British local councils to companies Operating in settlements, including those involved in human rights violations.

These data, based on a study conducted by British researchers for the benefit of the Solidarity Campaign with Palestine, show that the investment of local councils in companies operating with the occupation amounts to a total of 3.5 billion pounds ($ 4.4 billion), either in the form of direct or indirect investments.

The Solidarity Campaign with Palestine is the largest body concerned with the rights of Palestinians in Britain, and it has partners from 14 British unions, making it a reliable body, and it has been suing the British government for years to wrest the historical ruling on the legality of boycotting companies that invest in settlements.

The figure of $ 4 billion remains a candidate for the rise, given that a number of local councils have resorted to not disclosing their investments, especially those related to Israel.

The prevailing belief was until a few weeks ago that British local councils' investments in Israel amounted to two billion pounds, and 33 local councils participated in it, before a new analysis of banking and financial data, supervised by experts cooperating with the Solidarity Campaign with Palestine, showed that the number of councils that transferred retirement funds Its population for Israel for the purpose of investment is 49 local councils.

Among the 49 councils cooperating with Israel, according to the study, there are several councils that place their money in companies involved in human rights violations, but also in companies on the United Nations blacklist for human rights and weapons manufacturing.

Among the companies blacklisted by the United Nations for human rights as active in settlements and conducive to settlement, we find the Mexican group Cemex, a multinational giant construction and manufacturing equipment, and among the investors in this company is the Council of "West Yorkshire", which is the Council Which has a total investment in companies operating with the occupation a total of 637 million pounds.

The Mexican construction group Cymex is active in settlement operations (Reuters)

Arms companies

By tracking companies that receive the largest share of local council investments, it is possible to talk about two important categories: the first includes arms and military and security technology companies, and the second relates to banking institutions and insurance companies. Usually, the local councils resort to the latter because they have a financial portfolio that enables them to diversify investments, so that these councils do not show that they invest directly in companies operating in the settlements and the occupied lands.

Among the companies that supply the occupation army with weapons and military technology, there is "BAE", which provides equipment for Apache helicopters and "F-16" aircraft, which are the fighters that the occupation army used more than once in its aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The company "BAE Systems" is the fourth largest arms producer in the world, and is strongly present in the investments of the British local councils, and this company has a partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, the manufacturer of "F-35" aircraft, from which Israel received copies during the last period.

Also, the company itself is making drones designed to protect the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. And simply for the British local councils that invest in this company, the value of these investments exceeds 10 million pounds.

The pension system funds of the British local councils are also found in Bab Cook International, a company ranked in the 26th largest arms-producing company in the world, and it obtained arms export deals for Israel between 2010 and 2012, and it has partnerships with Israeli arms development companies , And this company got a £ 1.8m investment from one local council.

In the list of companies working in the field of security technologies, there is a company "Check Point software" specialized in information security, and it works with the British National Health Authority, and is considered the fourth largest Israeli company in this field, and the list of the Board of Directors is a Former leaders in the occupation army, and this company contributes to the development of drones, in addition to espionage and follow-up activities.

Although the British car manufacturer, Rolls Royce, devotes only a quarter of its activity to the manufacture of military aircraft engines, engines and nuclear submarines, it is ranked 17th in the world in the production of weapons. In 2014, when the occupation army carried out its aggression on the Gaza Strip, the British company obtained a deal to export military aircraft engines to the occupation army. However, a number of councils invest in the company in amounts exceeding one million pounds.

The Israeli "Check Point" company specialized in information security works with the British National Health Authority (Reuters)
The Israeli "Check Point" company specialized in information security works with the British National Health Authority (Reuters)


Attempts to get around

Local councils resort to banking institutions and insurance companies to pass through them for the purpose of investing in other companies. As an example of this, there is an HSBC bank that invests more than 830 million pounds in Israeli companies, according to the same study, and provides financial services worth 19 billion pounds sterling for companies supplying weapons to the occupation army, and this bank is at the forefront of banking institutions that enjoy the investment of British local councils.

Among the investments of this banking institution, we will find that it places 100 million pounds in "Caterpillar", which supplies the Israeli occupation army with bulldozers used in demolishing Palestinian homes, and also in building settlements, the apartheid wall and military checkpoints.

With regard to insurance companies, there are more than one insurance institution, whether British or French, including those who invest in an Israeli company called "Ilbit systems", a company involved in serious violations against the Palestinians.

Pressure study

The head of the Solidarity Campaign with Palestine, Professor Kamel Hawash, revealed the methodology of developing this study, which is based on obtaining data from the pension system funds of the local councils, "Because transparency laws require these funds to disclose the companies that invest in them, and we have searched for Israeli companies Then the companies that deal with the occupation. "

Another criterion in the study, he added, "was the search for companies on the United Nations' human rights blacklist."

The head of the campaign stressed that the data collection was done through its branches in all British regions, and said, "We continue to search and update our data ... The current step is to communicate with the trustees of the Pension Fund Board to convince them not to invest in these companies, and with the British Supreme Court ruling that was in our favor we can press More".

On the reactions to these data, Kamel Hawash stressed that "the pro-Israel lobby considered this study to be anti-Semitic, but the major unions in the British called on local councils to look and scrutinize more in their investments."


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