THE PENSION FUND DISINVEST FROM ISRAELI CONsTRUCTION CORPORATION

THE PENSION FUND DISINVEST FROM ISRAELI CONTRUCTION CORPORATION

Aftenposten 2012 06 21

Emma Tollersrud

The corporation is involved with illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Ethics Council holds as its opinion.

The Ministry of Finance has decided to follow up on the advice of the Ethics Council; through excluding the Israeli entrepreneur corporation Shikun & Binui Ltd from the portfolio of the State Pension Fund’s overseas investments.

The corporation, one of the largest within the Israeli construction and entrepreneurial business is involved in the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem contrary to international law. This also includes the Rama Rachel Dreams project, scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Involved in constructing the wall.

The Ethics Council holds as its opinion the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem is contrary to international law. The corporation has formerly been involved with, directly or through subsidiaries owned by the corporation, in the construction of settlements in the occupied areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including Ma’aleh Edumin, being one of the largest. A fully owned subsidiary is also involved in the construction of the wall against the West Bank.

Issued warning in 2009.

At the end of 2009 the Pension Fund (SPU) owned stock valued at 13.8 million NKR. At the time the SPU disinvested from the corporation; stocks were valued at 8.5 million NKR; sales are now completed, the Ministry of Finance states. This decision was made on the background of the Ethical Council’s recommendations, in a report from December of last year.

The Norwegian People’s Aid issued a warning against the Shikun & Binui towards the ethics council; reiterating this initiative in 2010.

“We are extremely content over this decision; however asking the Ethics Council to have a look at other corporations contributing to the occupation”, Liv Tørres, Secretary of the NPA states in a Press release.

The NPA holds as its opinion the SPU has not disinvested from several corporations involved in illegal settlements.

Inacceptable risk.

The settlements are in breach of the Geneva conventions fourth treaty on protection of civilians in wartime, the Ethics Council points out, referring to verdicts in the international court in Hague (ICJ), the UNSC and the ICRC.

They regard the corporation as contributing to gross infringements of the rights of individuals in war and conflicts. Holding a stock portfolio thereby involves an inacceptable risk of breaching guidelines concerning observation and exclusion, the ministry of finance reasons.

The corporation has not replied to any of the Ethic Council’s queries, according to the report. The exact status on present and future construction projects involving the corporation has been difficult to establish, they informs.

Advice on excluding all.

The function of the Ethics Council is to counsel on corporations to be excluded the investment universe[1] of the fund. If so, it should be based on an inacceptable risk over a corporation contributing to or taking part in “serious infringements of the rights of individuals in war or situations of conflict”.

Formerly, the Ethics Council has concluded with breaches of the Geneva conventions being grounds for such exclusion. They have advised the SPU to disinvest in all corporations building settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus are listed among the formerly excluded corporations doing business in occupied areas.

[1] «Investeringsunivers», term used in the Norwegian original version.