Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ben Jamal, says London-based HSBC has divested from Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems after collective pressure that included 24,000 emails from people highlighting their concerns.
Banking giant, HSBC, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, will divest from Israel’s Elbit defence contractor over concerns of human rights violations by Tel Aviv, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said on Thursday.
Elbit Systems is one of Israel's largest arms manufacturer making drones, pilot helmet displays, and cybersecurity systems.
The move to divest from the arms manufacturer came just weeks after the vacation rental website Airbnb announced it would delist illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Jerusalem Post also confirmed HSBC's decision, citing sources from the bank.
“HSBC confirmed to campaigners that it has fully divested from Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, which sells weapons to the Israeli military used in attacks on Palestinians,” said a source from HSBC, cited by the Jerusalem Post.
Ben Jamal, Director of the PSC, praised the decision by HSBC.
“This announcement is proof positive that collective campaigning works. Hundreds of people around the UK, including many PSC members and branches, were involved in pushing HSBC to divest from Elbit through pickets, email campaigns, and other actions designed to pressure the company,” Jamal said, in a statement published on the PSC’s website.
The statement said over 24,000 people emailed HSBC highlighting their concern over the bank's investments in Elbit Systems and other companies selling weapons to Israel’s military.
“Campaigners vow to continue the campaign, as HSBC maintains business relations with more than a dozen other companies selling weapons and technology to the Israeli military,” PSC added.
Several non-governmental and international organisations including the United Nations have repeatedly warned Israel over its human rights violations, but Israel has always turned a deaf ear, saying the groups have an anti-Israel bias.
For nearly nine months, Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting against the Israeli blockade, demanding the right to return to their lands taken by Israel in 1948.
Friday marks week 40 of demonstrations by Palestinians on Gaza's border with Israel.
Israeli soldiers have fired on the protests, killing more than 240 demonstrators and wounding thousands.