HSBC branches across Britain will see protests tomorrow against the high street bank’s £831 million dealings with companies selling weapons and equipment to Israel used in "deadly" offences against Palestinians.
Demonstrations will be staged at more than 30 different branches in Manchester, Birmingham, London and other locations, calling on HSBC to sever ties with the companies.
The bank holds shares in arms company Elbit Systems, which manufactures and supplies the Israeli military with drones, used regularly in attacks on Palestinian civilians.
An Elbit Hermes drone was recently revealed to have been used by Israel in a 2014 attack, where four Palestinian children were killed on a Gaza beach while playing football.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign's campaigns officer, Huda Ammori, said: “Israel’s racist discrimination and brutal violence against Palestinians is clear for all to see.
“More and more of HSBC’s customers are deeply unhappy about the bank’s involvement in the arms trade with Israel, which enables these daily violations. Until HSBC stops making a killing from Israel’s deadly attacks on Palestinians, these protests will continue to grow.”
HSBC is an £831m shareholder in arms companies supplying Israel’s military, including BAE Systems, Boeing and Raytheon.
It also arranged syndicated loans worth at least £19.3 billion to companies like Caterpillar and United Technologies, which provide equipment used by Israel’s military in human rights violations and war crimes against Palestinians.
War on Want senior campaigns officer Ryvka Barnard said Elbit Systems recently sold the Israeli military an artillery system specifically chosen for its ability to be used for cluster munitions.
“HSBC claims to have a strict policy against doing business with companies involved in cluster munitions production, but as of 2017, it held £3.6 million worth of shares in Elbit Systems,” she said.
Ms Barnard added that the bank must “divest from all companies complicit in grave human rights abuses.”
The protests are part of an ongoing campaign which has seen over 20,000 people email HSBC Group chief executive John Flint on the issue.
Branches in over 20 locations have been targets for regular protests and pickets since the campaign was launched in July 2017.
Shareholders at the bank’s AGM in April also called on the HSBC board to divest from Elbit Systems and other companies supplying weapons to Israel.
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