By Vacy Vlazna
The shocking decision by the government-owned New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) to NOT divest from Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), manufacturer of white phos-phorus, blatantly violates the NZSF Responsibilities:
“ethical investment including policies, standards and procedures for avoiding prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community”
and Standards for Human Rights: –
1. Support and respect human rights 2. No complicity in abuses..
set out in the NZSF cautionary but brushed off Responsible Investment Framework.
Moreover, NZSF CEO, Adrian Orr, pragmatically amnesic of Israel’s infinite viola-tions of international law and UN resolutions, assured members that,
In 2013, Israel said it would find alternatives to white phosphorus, following condemnation of its use on civilians during the 2008-09 Gaza conflict.
“We have no evidence that Israel Chemicals’ product – or any white phospho-rus – has been used against civilians in the recent Gaza conflict,” Mr Orr said. “Our analysis suggests Israel Chemicals operates within national and interna-tional laws, and conventions NZ has signed.” (LOL)
NZSF analysis, if done at all, is fraudulent.
NZSF certainly acknowledges that Israel Chemicals is a supplier of white phospho-rus to the US Defense Force.
Yet, easily found on Google, are contract awards from the US Army Contracting Command to ICL Performance Products for White Phosphorus, Destination- Pine Bluff Arsenal, Pine Bluff, AR to be “used for the Ctg 155mm M110A2”
As for Orr’s profit-induced ‘no evidence’,
The M110 / M110A1 White Phosphorus (WP) projectiles are available for 105mm and 155mm howitzers. Used for screening, spotting and signaling pur-poses, they have an additional incendiary effect on a target and processes casualty producing effects.
The contemptible NZSF’s 16-8-14 decision to continue assisting in the US manu-facture of M110A2 was reviewed and reached during Israel’s monstrous war, Oper-ation Protective Edge, against the terrified trapped Gazan population. It shows the NZ fund to be an highly irresponsible member of the world community and a collab-orator in Israel’s war crimes.
Synchronistically, on the very same 16-8-14, little Hamza Mus’ab Almandani, 3 ,of Khan Younis, Gaza was in Nasser hospital in excruciating pain suffering from burns, like fire, from artillery shells made in Pine Bluff, USA that were fired on 25-7-14, discharging white incendiary rain on Gaza in hundreds of phosphorous-impregnated felt wedges as Hamza and his family slept.
It is important that NZSF contributors are aware that White Phosphorous burns at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit or 816 degrees Celsius through skin, muscle and bone and is only contained by blocking off oxygen, but the extreme pain and the horrific tissue damage endures.
In terror, Hamza’s father, Mus’ab, also injured along with his other children Bara and Nada, 5, ran through the tumultuous night carrying Hamza who spent agonising months in hospital. This once happy lively toddler, is now mute from trauma and pain. . . thanks, in part, to NZSF and its members.
NZSF should, at the very least, be paying for this child to have burns treatment in Italy. or Aotearoa New Zealand for that matter.
Contrary to Adrian Orr’s assurance to the New Zealand public, Hamza’s suffering was DELIBERATELY inflicted in 2014 in blatant defiance of the 2009 Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and witness Reports and the significant UN Goldstone Report on Israel’s war crimes that condemned its illegal use.
Israel inhumanely defied “Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which prohibits use of the substance as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas.”
Significantly, Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza prevents escape by land, sea and air. The alarming Israeli documentary, The Lab, by Yotam Feldman exposes the 1.6 million mothers, fathers, children, are locked in an Israeli laboratory cage that battle-tests weaponry on Gaza. Billions of international dollars from western defense departments and investors, like NZSF, fuel the demand and sanction Israeli atrocities.
NZSF executives, Chair Gavin Walker, Deputy Chair Catherine Savage and Chief Executive Adrian Orr, on $800,000 plus salaries, sit in their safe and sleek offices making criminally negligent decisions to pour NZ workers’ monies into supporting Israeli companies that are integral to the illegal colonisation and brutal military oppression of Palestine’s indigenous people that has spanned 68 long long years. . . thus NZSF cannot plead ignorance particularly if one also considers New Zealand’s own shameful history of violence against the Maori peoples.
Nor are NZSF beneficiaries morally squeaky clean. Since August last year there have been numerous calls in the media for NZSF divestment from ICL and protests by a few decent people at the NZSF offices… but no mass demands from the members for divestment.
Other Israeli companies in the NZSF portfolio that also have grounds for divestment are Strauss Group Ltd which has close connections to the Israeli military, particularly the notoriously vicious Golani and Givati brigades that participated in war crimes in Gaza in 2008/9, 2011 and 2014.
And TEVA Pharmaceuticals has a plant in Har Hotzvim beyond the Green Like making it a settlement factory.
To understand the incestuous links between the majority of Israeli companies steeped in Palestinian blood and tears we can look at TEVA’s CEO.
TEVA’s Erez Vigodman was CEO of the Strauss Group for 8 years, then CEO of Makhteshim Agan which had signed a production agreement with U.S. chemical giant Monsanto to develop an herbicide for weeds that had developed resistance to glyphosate, its popular herbicide marketed as Roundup. Israeli companies have a knack for death and destruction.
NZSF must also check if the Israeli oil companies in its portfolio are involved in the theft of Palestinian oil and gas resources and all Israel Banks have labyrithine investments in Israel’s arms and security industries.
NZSF ‘has a passive $900,000 investment’ in Israel Chemicals Ltd which ethically must be immediately divested along with the majority of its Israel investments.
The NZSF governance and its contributors an beneficiaries should, in the manner of all decent people, be absolutely outraged that their monies and blood profits are complicitous in the deaths and inhumane suffering of Palestinian children like little Hamza and divest immediately.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UN-TAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.