Canadian Financial Institutions: Complicit with Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Israeli Illegal Settlement . Photo: Montecruz Foto via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Four Canadian Financial Institutions, BMO, RBC, Scotiabank and Manulife have been listed on Bank Track as owning and managing shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli banks are facilitating the expansion of the Israeli illegal settlements  in several ways, including lending to construction projects in the settlements, providing banking services for settlements’ local authorities, operating branches in the settlements and providing mortgages for settlement homes and businesses.

Many international banks also support Israeli banks, including their activities in the illegal settlements, for example through direct shareholdings, linking them to these impacts.

 

About Israeli illegal settlements

Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, are illegal under international law. This is widely recognised and has been confirmed by the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council (e.g. see UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2012).

Through these settlements, Israel, the occupying state, violates numerous provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international humanitarian law (IHL): these are built and maintained primarily through unlawful appropriation of occupied land and natural resources and transfer of property rights, prohibited transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory, and arbitrary restriction of the freedom of movement and forcible transfer of the Palestinian and Syrian population.

Moreover, the settlements also amount to de facto annexation of occupied territory by Israel, which is a flagrant breach of general public international law and the UN Charter, violating the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force and the internationally recognized right of Palestinians to self-determination

 

What Bank Track indicates should happen:Banks not operating in Israel but with shareholdings in or other exposure to Israeli banks lack the leverage to prevent or mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of business with the illegal Israeli settlements. They should therefore abstain from or end their relationships with Israeli banks, as well as other institutions and business linked to the illegal settlements. States should inform their businesses, including banks, about the risks involved in such business activities under international law, and about the consequences under domestic laws. 

See details of Canadian and other financial institutions involvement 

See Human Rights Watch report, June 2018

Learn more here.

 

Please be in touch with your own local branch of these financial institutions, and let us know by providing info HERE.

 

The following letters have been sent by email and registered mail to Scotiabank, RBC, BMO and Manulife.

Canadian BDS Coalition

…working together to promote justice for Palestinians.

Scotiabank

Brian J Porter, CEO and President

VIA EMAIL

brian.porter@scotiabank.com

Dear Mr. Porter:

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that Scotiabank owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that Scotiabank is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of Scotiabank’s investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal of Scotiabank’s funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by Scotiabank related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that many customers will re-evaluate their relationship with Scotiabank and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

BMO

Darryl White, CEO and President, BMO

VIA EMAIL

darryl.white@bmo.com

Dear Mr. White:

re writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that BMO owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that BMO is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of BMO investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal CIBC’s of funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by BMO related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that may Customers will re-evaluate their relationship with BMO and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

Royal Bank

David I McKay, CEO and President

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

 

VIA EMAIL

Via Paul French, communications with Board and Chair,  paul.french@rbc.com

Dear Mr. McKay

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that RBC owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that RBC  is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of RBC’s investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal RBC’s  of funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by RBC related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that may customers will re-evaluate their relationship with RBC and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

Manulife

 

Roy Gori, President & CEO, Manulife

VIA EMAIL

roy.gori@ manulife.com

 

Also:

info@manulife.com

Dear Mr. Gori

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that Manulife owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that RBC  is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of Manulife investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal Manulife’s  funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by Manulife related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that many customers and companies/organizations will re-evaluate their relationship with Manulife nd may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca