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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Minnesota lawsuit tries to force divestment from Israel Bonds

A lawsuit in Minnesota is trying to force the State to divest from Israel Bonds.
In order to settle that many people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, infrastructure must be built. Many of the settlers live in the West Bank and work inside of Israel, and roads were built to facilitate their commute. Electricity was brought out to the settlements; water distribution networks were constructed; and the more than 430-mile apartheid wall was constructed, all of which is equally as illegal as the transferred civilian population itself. All of the land on which these construction projects were built is confiscated Palestinian property, and in the projects have left thousands of Palestinians homeless and destitute, devastated the Palestinian economy and violated Palestinians' human rights.

The settlements, their infrastructure, and the separation wall are paid for through Israel's Ministry of Finance, which sells Government of Israel Bonds to finance these projects. Israel Bonds can be purchased by individuals, organizations and states. Currently 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia invest in these Israel Bonds, often as part of state pension and retirement funds. Minnesota currently holds over $18 million in Israel Bonds, an amount that is small compared to the overall state investments, but is a significant amount given that the money isused for illegal projects.

Holding investments in illegal projects that violate human rights and international law exposes Minnesota taxpayers to potential lawsuits from aggrieved individuals under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), an 18th century law allowing foreigners the ability to sue entities in the United States for aiding and abetting in the commission of crimes against those individuals.
It goes on in a similar vein.

Here's the key: Not only must this frivolous lawsuit be dismissed, but the court has to impose heavy costs. Otherwise these kind of harassment suits will continue to be filed.

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