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IPE special report May 2018

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Norwegian oil fund revokes exclusion of Israeli companies

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  • Norwegian oil fund revokes exclusion of Israeli companies

NORWAY – The NOK4.4trn (€583bn) Norwegian Pension Fund Global has readmitted two Israeli companies to its investment universe, after the firms confirmed they no longer involved in the activities that led to their exclusion.

The Ministry of Finance decided in August 2010 to exclude Africa Israel Investments (AFI) and its subsidiary, the construction company Danya Cebus, from the fund due to their involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank in occupied Palestine. The settlement's construction was a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids building settlements in occupied territories.

 

The Ministry has now acted on the recommendation from the fund's Council on Ethics to revoke the exclusion, following company statements that neither AFI nor any of its subsidiaries were involved in constructing settlements on the West Bank, and that there were no plans for such activities in the future.

The information emerged as part of a routine review by the Council on Ethics to ascertain whether the basis for exclusion was still present.

AFI met the Council in April this year, and confirmed the change of circumstances, both then and in subsequent correspondence.

The Council said in its recommendation: "The exclusion mechanism is not intended to punish companies for previous actions, but rather to prevent investment in companies that are responsible for or contribute to ongoing or potential future breaches of standards."

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