Nordic fund KLP excludes 16 companies for links to Israeli settlements in West Bank

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A Jewish settler walks past Israeli settlement construction sites around Givat Zeev and Ramat Givat Zeev in the Israeli-occupied West Bank near Jerusalem on June 30, 2020. REUTERS / Ammar Awad / File Photo

  • Motorola Solutions, Alstom among the excluded
  • Others cover banking, telecommunications, construction
  • Companies risk helping Israel break international law – KLP

OSLO, July 5 (Reuters) – Norway’s largest pension fund, KLP, announced on Monday that it would no longer invest in 16 companies, including Alstom (ALSO.PA) and Motorola (MSI.N) due to their links with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. .

Along with a number of other countries, Norway views the settlements as a violation of international law. Israel disputes this and cites Biblical and historical links to the land, as well as security needs.

A 2020 United Nations report said it found 112 companies with West Bank-related operations captured by Israel in a 1967 war and now housing around 450,000 Israelis and 3 million Palestinians.

The companies, which cover telecommunications, banking, energy and construction, all help facilitate Israel’s presence and therefore risk being complicit in violations of international law and KLP’s ethical guidelines, he said. he said in a statement.

“According to KLP’s assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that excluded companies may contribute to the violation of human rights in war and conflict situations through their links with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” KLP said.

This move by KLP follows a decision by the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund in May to exclude two companies linked to construction and real estate in the Palestinian territories. Read more

KLP, which had $ 70 billion in assets under management at the end of the first quarter, said it had sold shares in the companies worth NKr 275 million ($ 31.81 million) and, in June, had completed the process. In Motorola and Alstom, it had also sold its bond holdings.

The sale of Motorola Solutions was “a very simple decision” as its video security and software were used for border surveillance.

Alstom did not respond to a request for comment. Motorola, headquartered in Chicago, did not respond to a request for comment sent out of hours in the United States.

A senior Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official praised the KLP’s decision.

“The Norwegian step is important to stop dealing with companies that support settlements on Palestinian lands. We welcome this and urge other countries to take similar action,” Wasel Abu Youssef told Reuters.

“After the United Nations announced its blacklist of companies operating in the settlements, all countries must either suspend the work of these companies or boycott them. “

The Israeli authorities condemned the action of the KLP.

“The decision harms the Israelis and the Palestinians and does not contribute to the resolution of the conflict,” said an Israeli official.

ASSIGNMENTS

Telecom companies such as Bezeq (BEZQ.TA) and Cellcom Israel (CEL.TA) have been cut because the services they provide help make locations more attractive, KLP said, while banks such as Leumi ( LUMI.TA) have helped finance the infrastructure.

Similarly, construction and engineering groups such as Alstom and their local counterparts Ashtrom (ASHG.TA) and Electra (ELTR.TA) were responsible for building the infrastructure, while Paz Oil (PZOL.TA) contributed to their diet.

Other companies to be excluded were: Bank Hapoalim (POLI.TA), Israel Discount Bank (DSCT.TA), Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (MZTF.TA), Delek Group (DLEKG.TA), Energix Renewable Energies (ENRG.TA), First International Bank of Israel (FIBI.TA) and Partner Communications (PTNR.TA).

Energix Renewable Energies told Reuters that to date it has no business or investment in the West Bank. In March 2021, he agreed to sell his stake in a photovoltaic power plant there, and the sale was closed in June, according to documents filed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Bezeq, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Bank Hapoalim and Partner Communications declined to comment. The other companies did not respond to requests for comment.

Telecom company Altice, which was listed until January 2021, was also excluded.

Altice did not respond to a request for comment.

($ 1 = 8.6460 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Gwladys Fouché in Oslo and Simon Jessop in London, Steven Scheer and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, edited by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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