Brussels (Brussels Morning) The largest Norwegian pension fund, KLP, announced on Monday it has divested all of its assets in companies connected with illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The fund acted after the UN published a list of 112 companies in February, all of which had business activities linked to the settlements, including the communications technology multinational Motorola.
In its Monday release, the 80-billion euro fund noted that Motorola and other listed companies risk being complicit in ongoing international law violations in the occupied Palestine, emphasising that divesting from Motorola was a very straightforward decision. KLP noted that the company provided surveillance software and solutions for border surveillance in the occupied territories.
The Norwegian fund also sold off its stakes in all telecom operators that offer services within the West Bank, arguing that they help make the illegal settlements attractive residential areas. The list of affected telecoms includes Altice Europe, Bezey, Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, declared illegal by the UN and condemned as such by the EU and a range of countries. According to the official EU view, the settlements are in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, and erode prospects for lasting peace in the region.
In addition to Motorola and telecom operators, KLP also sold off its stakes in five banks that financed construction of housing and infrastructure in the illegal settlements. The fund also divested from engineering and construction groups that have worked on building the settlements, including the French multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom.
KLP’s move comes two months after Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, also acting on the UN company listing, divested from entities tied to the illegal settlements. The 1.1 trillion euro fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, excluded Israeli companies Shapir Engineering and Industry and Mivne Real Estate KD from its portfolio, describing the companies as an “unacceptable risk”.