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Nordic fund KLP excludes 16 companies over ties to occupied West Bank By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Jewish settler passes 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

By Gwladys Fouche and Simon Jessop

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s largest pension fund KLP said on Monday it would no longer invest in 16 companies, including Alstom (PA 🙂 and Motorola for their links to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Along with other countries, Norway views the settlements as a violation of international law. A 2020 United Nations report said it had found 112 companies that have operations linked to the region, home to around 650,000 Israelis.

The companies, spanning telecommunications, banking, energy and construction, help facilitate Israel’s presence and therefore run the risk of being complicit in violations of international law and KLP’s ethical guidelines, it said in a statement.

“In the KLP assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that excluded companies are contributing to human rights abuse in situations of war and conflict through their links to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” KLP said.

The KLP move follows a decision by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in May to exclude two companies linked to construction and real estate in the Palestinian territories.

KLP said it had sold shares in the companies worth 275 million NOK ($ 31.81 million) and had completed the process as of June. At Motorola and Alstom, he had also sold his bond holdings.

Selling Motorola Solutions (NYSE 🙂 was “a very easy decision” as its video security and software were used for border surveillance.

Telecommunications companies, including Bezeq and Cellcom Israel, were removed because the services they provide help make settlements more attractive residential areas, KLP said, while banks, including Leumi, helped finance infrastructure.

Similarly, construction and engineering groups such as Alstom and their local peers Ashtrom and Electra were responsible for building the infrastructure, while Paz Oil helped push them forward.

The other companies that were excluded were: Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Delek Group, Energix Renewable Energies, First International Bank of Israel and Partner Communications.

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

($ 1 = 8.6460 NOK)

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