Norwegian fund stops working with Israeli companies over illegal settlements

Norwegian fund stops working with Israeli companies over illegal settlements
The Norway fund said it was being put at risk by working with Israeli companies who do business in the illegal West Bank settlements.
2 min read
20 May, 2021

The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has decided to cut off two Israeli companies due to their activities in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The government-run fund removed Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd. and Mivne Real Estate KD Ltd. due to what they said was "the unacceptable risk that the companies are contributing to with systematic violations of individuals' rights in… wars or conflicts," according to a statement.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank, where roughly half a million Israelis live, are considered illegal under international law. However, despite repeated warnings to halt construction, Israel has failed to stop.

The decision was taken based on advice given by the fund’s Council of Ethics, which puts in place a range of ethical guidelines for its work.

"Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been established in violation of international law and their continued presence and expansion is causing great harm to the Palestinian population in the area," the Ethics Council said in a separate statement.

By the end of 2020, the fund had $1 million in shares in Shapir Engineering and Industry, as well as $12 million in Mivne Real Estate.

While Shapir specialises in civil and marine engineering and is considered one of the most prominent Israeli companies in the construction, development and infrastructure sector, Mivne is a real estate company that deals in various real estate activities focusing on the Occupied Territories.

An ongoing Israeli offensive in the West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem has killed at least 27 Palestinians so far.

According to the Palestinian ministry of health, at least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, have also been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli bombardment which began on 10 May.

Meanwhile, thousands have been injured and forcibly displaced across all Palestinian territories.