UK-based HSBC has divested from Israeli weapons maker Elbit Systems over Palestinian human rights concerns, according to various media outlets.
While HSBC had yet to officially announce the decision, sources within the UK-based bank confirmed Thursday that it had ended its investments in Elbit, one of Israel’s biggest military contractors, reported Press TV Friday.
The company states that although it never takes sides on political issues, it still "observes international human rights principles" that govern businesses.
British activist group War on Want announced Thursday that HSBC decided to divest from Elbit after receiving over 24,000 emails from people concerned about its ties to Elbit and other firms that helped the Israeli military’s brutal crackdown on Palestinian people.
In their emails, the activists told HSBC that its involvement with the Elbit Systems violated the bank’s self-proclaimed policy of not providing financial services to “companies involved in the production or selling of cluster munitions.”
It also was in breach of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the group added.
“HSBC has taken a positive first step in divesting from Elbit Systems, the notorious manufacturer of drones, chemical weapons, cluster bomb artillery systems, and other technology used in attacks against Palestinian civilians, and to militarize walls and borders around the world,” said Ryvka Barnard, War on Want’s senior campaigner on militarism and security.
“Doing business with companies like Elbit means profiting from violence and human rights violation, which is both immoral and a contravention of international law,” she added.
Barnard noted that HSBC was still maintaining ties with over a dozen other Israeli firms involved in crimes against Palestinians.