Norway fund blacklists Israeli companies with settlement ties

Published Thursday, January 30, 2014

Norway's huge sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, blacklisted two Israeli companies involved in construction of settlements in East Jerusalem, the country's finance ministry said Thursday.

The ban on investing in the firms revived a three-year prohibition on them that the Government Pension Fund of Norway had dropped in August last year.

The companies are Africa Israel Investments, an Israeli real estate developer, and its construction subsidiary Danya Cerbus.

The ministry cited the company's alleged "contribution to serious violations of individual rights in war or conflict through the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem," a territory where Israel's claims are deemed illegal by the international law.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund is fed by the country's oil surplus. It is worth an estimated $818 billion according to the SWF Institute, a body that tracks such funds.

As well as resuming the Israeli firm blacklisting, Norway suspended a restriction on the fund buying bonds issued in Myanmar, leaving only North Korea, Iran and Syria on the list of countries ineligible for investment.

The announcement comes several weeks after one of the Netherlands’ largest pension asset manager said it was divesting from five Israeli banks because they finance illegal settlements.

In December, Romania barred its citizens from working for Israel's illegal West Bank settlements.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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