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Dutch pension fund ABP divests from two Israeli arms companies

Dutch pension fund ABP has divested from two Israeli companies for their role in producing cluster munitions. Aryt Industries Ltd. and Ashot Ashkelon both appear on a list dated June 1 of companies excluded by the world’s third largest pension fund.

The document notes that ABP’s responsible investment policy enables the exclusion of companies “which continue to conduct business in conflict with the principles of the UN Global Compact and which show no sign of adapting their practices.”

Aryt Industries Ltd. is “primarily engaged in the manufacture of detonators”, with the vast majority of the company’s business performed by its subsidiary, Reshef Technologies. According to senior officials speaking in 2009, around 80 percent of Reshef’s business is with the Israeli military.

Ashot Ashkelon Industries Ltd. is active in the aerospace and defence sector, and a subsidiary of Israeli government-owned defence company Israel Military Industries Ltd..

In February, ABP decided to remain invested in three Israeli banks linked to illegal settlements in the West Bank. At the time, the Israeli government took credit for the decision despite ABP’s contradiction of its version of events. Earlier in the year, another Dutch pension fund PGGM withdrew its investments from five Israeli banks.

On Thursday meanwhile, 11 EU nations (Austria, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Croatia) published warnings to their citizens against doing business with or investing in Israeli settlements. 17 EU governments have now issued such statements, after Portugal joined the likes of France, Germany and Britain earlier in the week.


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