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Norway’s largest pension fund (KLP) announced it will no longer invest in 16 companies given their connections to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including telecommunications giant Motorola.
The KLP said on Monday that the companies in telecoms, banking, energy and construction operate against the fund’s ethical guidelines, helping facilitate Israel's illegal presence in the occupied Palestinian territories and therefore risking complicity in breaking of international law.
The Norwegian pension fund said in the statement: "In KLP’s assessment, there is an unacceptable risk that the excluded companies are contributing to the abuse of human rights in situations of war and conflict through their links with the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank."
The funds manages some $95 billion worth of assets, saying that it sold shares in companies amounting to $31.81 million and that as of June the disinvestment completed the process.
"Divesting from Motorola Solutions was a very straightforward decision over its surveillance role in the occupied territories," the KLP said. "Motorola and other companies risk complicity in international law violations in occupied Palestine.”
The KLP explained it had contacted the companies to try to “establish a dialogue” before disinvesting, but the companies declined to respond.
“We always want to have a dialogue with the companies, to influence them through our ownership,” the fund said in the statement, adding that it chose to exclude the companies when the attempt at dialogue “did not yield results.”
KLP also divested from several telecom operators offering services within the occupied West Bank which contributed to making “the settlements attractive residential areas."
Norway’s largest pension fund KLP announces it has divested $3.81m from 16 companies due to their complicity in Israel's illegal settlement enterprise on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank citing "human rights abuses in situations of war."https://t.co/gbyyWggnuT
Among the affected companies are five banks that facilitated and/or financed the construction of housing and infrastructure in the territories, as well as engineering and construction groups such as the French multinational Alstom.
In February 2020 the UN published a list of 112 companies with activities linked to Israeli colonial settlements, considered illegal under international law.
Over 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The KLP's action aligns with the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which, initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations, pushes for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Thousands of volunteers, trade unions, NGOs, academic and businesses worldwide have joined the boycott campaign to help promote justice for Palestine.