Israel Boycott Pressure Mounts as Denmark's Danske Bank Blacklists Israel Hapoalim

Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank, has blacklisted Israeli Bank Hapoalim because it finances construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

Citing its corporate accountability rules, the bank said that Bank Hapoalim was acting against the rules of international law.

The Danish bank had already withdrawn its investments from Africa Israel Investments Limited and Danya Cebus for the same reasons.

Sweden's Nordea Bank – the largest in Scandinavia –  followed the Danish bank and has also taken steps against Israeli banks involved in construction in the settlements.

In January, PGGM, Netherlands' largest pension fund management company, divested all investments from Israel's five biggest banks.

It cited a 2004 advisory issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague which said that settlements in occupied Palestinian territories were illegal and violated the Geneva Convention.

The Norwegian finance ministry has also blacklisted Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus because of their involvement in constructing settlements in East Jerusalem.

Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, was barred from investing in those two Israeli companies due to their "serious violations" of individual rights.

This follows a warning by US Secretary of State John Kerry who told a Munich security conference that Israel would suffer if its leaders failed to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

"Today's status quo, absolutely to a certainty, I promise you 100%, cannot be maintained. It is not sustainable. It is illusionary. You see, for Israel there is an increasing delegitimisation campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?" Kerry said .

At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that no pressure, including economic boycotts, will force him to compromise the state of Israel's vital interests, "above all the security of the citizens of Israel."

But in an Army Radio interview Israel's Finance Minister Yair Lapid repeated  warning over the European boycott. Last week, during a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies. Lapid said that, "if the negotiations with the Palestinians stall or collapse and we enter the reality of a European boycott – even if it's extremely limited – the Israeli economy will falter and every Israeli citizen will feel the pain directly." Lapid's forecast was based on a special study prepared at his request by the Treasury.

A group of about 100 leading Israeli businesspeople called Breaking the Impasse agrees with Kerry and Lapid.

Last week, actress Scarlett Johansson stepped down as ambassador for humanitarian group Oxfam International after being condemned for featuring in advertisement for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

Johansson signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International LTD which came under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for its large factory in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank.