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News Summary: Pension manager divests from banks

The Associated Press

TAKING A STAND: PGGM of the Netherlands, one of the 20 largest pension asset managers globally, has divested from five Israeli banks because they are involved in financing the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories.

SYMBOLIC HIT: In financial terms the move is not that significant, given that PGGM had only several tens of millions invested in the banks out of the more than $170 billion in assets it manages.

THE RATIONALE: PGGM said the decision followed years of discussions with the banks and that it considers the settlements unethical because of the International Court of Justice's 2004 advisory opinion that found they were an illegal violation of Palestinian rights.