Norway's insurance giant parts ways with firms over occupied West Bank involvement
Giv'at Ze'ev, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank considered illegal under international law. (File photo)
A Norwegian insurance giant has dropped two building-materials companies from its investment portfolio over their activities in quarries in the occupied Palestinian lands.
KLP announced on Thursday that it was divesting from Germany’s Heidelberg Cement and Mexico’s Cemex “on the grounds of their exploitation of natural resources in occupied territory on the West Bank," Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.
The companies’ operations constitute “an unacceptable risk of violating fundamental ethical norms,” KLP said.
The insurance fund further noted that the Israeli subsidiaries of Heidelberg Cement and Cemex “pay license fees and royalties” to Tel Aviv and sell “products deriving from the quarries” for use in Israel’s construction market.
Recently, the German and Mexican firms respectively acquired the Israeli firms Hanson Quarry Products Israel and Readymix Industries Israel, which both run quarries in the occupied West Bank.
KLP said earlier this month that “no such agreement can override the rules relating to occupation set out in The Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
The insurance firm had already excluded companies such as Africa Israel, Shikun & Binui and Danya Cebus for their involvement in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Earlier this month, France’s partly state-owned telecom giant Orange also announced plans to end its cooperation with Israeli operator Partner Communications Company over the latter’s illegal activities in the occupied Palestinian lands.
The developments come as many business enterprises and companies across the globe have already ceased their activities in the occupied lands as part of a global campaign known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967.
This is while much of the international community considers the settler units as illegal and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
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