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Dutch pension fund manager PGGM divests from Israeli banks over occupied territories

PGGM of the Netherlands, one of the world's larger pension asset managers, says it is divesting from five Israeli banks it says are involved in financing construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories.

PGGM spokesman Wout Dekker confirmed the move first reported by Haaretz daily. He said the decision followed years of discussions with the banks. PGGM said it considers settlements unethical due to the International Court of Justice's 2004 advisory opinion that found the settlements violated Palestinian rights. That sentiment, rejected by Israel, is shared by most of the international community.

PGGM said the banks argued they couldn't change their policies due to practical reasons and Israeli law.

The move follows a decision by Dutch water supplier Vitens to end cooperation with Israel's national water carrier Mekorot.

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