Israel summons Dutch envoy over bank boycott

10th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

Israel summoned the Netherlands' ambassador on Friday, expressing anger at a decision by Dutch pension asset manager PGGM to divest from Israeli banks over settlement building in the West Bank.

Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp was summoned "for clarification" over the decision, said Israel's foreign ministry.

The ministry "told the Dutch ambassador that the decision of the PGGM pension fund to divest from Israeli is unacceptable and relies on false pretence," it said.

"We expect the government of the Netherlands... to take an unequivocal stance against such steps, which only wreak damage to the relations between Israel and the Netherlands."

PGGM, one of the largest pension asset managers in the Netherlands, said on Wednesday it was divesting from five Israeli banks because they finance Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The announcement came a month after a major Dutch water supplier ended a partnership with an Israeli water company which supplies Israeli towns and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"PGGM recently decided to no longer invest in five Israeli banks," said the company, which manages about 153 billion euros ($208 billion) in funds.

"The reason for this was their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

PGGM said there was "a concern, as the settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered illegal under humanitarian law," and regarded by international observers as an "important obstacle to a peaceful (two-state) solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

The foreign ministry statement came as Israel unveiled more than 1,800 new settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, in a move Palestinians said would scupper US efforts towards reaching a Middle East peace deal.

© 2014 AFP

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