Norway’s largest pension fund announced it had fired assets in 16 companies for their links to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Telecom equipment giant Motorola was among the excluded companies to make “the settlements attractive residential areas”.
Also included are five banks that facilitated or financed the construction of housing and infrastructure in occupied territories and engineering and construction groups, including the French multinational Alstom.
“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,” KLP, which manages some $95bn worth of assets, said in a statement.
“Motorola and other companies risk complicity in international law violations in occupied Palestine,” the statement reads.
The companies all help facilitate Israel’s presence and therefore risk being complicit in breaches of international law and against KLP’s ethical guidelines.
“Companies have a responsibility to respect and protect human rights in all countries that they are operating in, regardless if the state itself is upholding these rights,” KLP analyst Kiran Aziz said.
“Conflict can mean a particularly high risk of human rights violations. Companies operating in conflict zones must therefore exercise particular caution to avoid involvement in human rights abuses and to protect vulnerable individuals,” she added.
Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.
In February 2020, the UN published a list of 112 companies with activities linked to Israeli settlements.
Israel strongly slammed the UN decision as a “contemptible effort”.
More than 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in flagrant violation of international laws.