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Arms Trade: Protesters to demand HSBC ‘stop arming Israel’

HSBC shareholders will face a wave of protests at their meeting tomorrow over their £831 million worth of shares in companies that sell weapons to Israel.

The protest, held tomorrow between 10am and 2pm outside the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, is calling on shareholders at the bank’s annual general meeting to stop profiting from human rights abuses — to “Stop Arming Israel.”

HSBC is a major shareholder in firms that sell weapons and military technology to Israel and also provides those companies with loans.

More than 18,000 people around Britain have contacted HSBC to express their concerns and branches in over 20 locations have been targeted by regular pickets.

Israeli security forces engage in brutal and illegal violence against Palestinians, including deadly  attacks on unarmed protesters, house demolitions, mass arrests and military blockades and large-scale bombings on the Gaza Strip.

Protest group War on Want’s Ryvka Barnard said: “As long as HSBC maintains business with companies arming Israel, its role in the oppression of Palestinians will continue to generate protest.”

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal said: “HSBC claims it has a commitment to upholding human rights. If this commitment is sincere, it must end its complicity in the arms trade with Israel."

Ayed Abu Eqtaish of Defence for Children International said: “Israeli forces are using live ammunition for crowd control to disperse protesters in Gaza, ignoring their obligation under international law to only resort to intentional lethal force when a direct, mortal threat to life or of serious injury exists.

"The cost of systemic impunity is that wilful killing of civilians is now routine, putting Palestinian children at higher risk of death and critical injury.”

Mr Eqtaish calls on the public to follow the campaign, as well as   protest online with the hashtags #StopArmingIsrael and #HSBComplicity

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