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Danish pension fund excludes four companies for role in Israeli occupation

October 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

A picture taken on February 22, 2017 from a village of West Bank shows that the expanding construction works continue at Jewish settlement of Shilo [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

A major Danish pension fund has excluded four companies for their ties to Israeli settlements in, and the extraction of natural resources from, the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Sampension, a DKK290 billion ($43.5 billion) Danish labour market pension fund, made the announcement in a press release last week, stating that two Israeli banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, as well as Heidelberg Cement and Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq, are now excluded.

All four companies have been excluded for violating Sampension’s new guidelines for investments in occupied territories, and specifically, “due to the financing of settlements, and the extraction of natural resources and establishment of infrastructure for telecommunication on occupied territory”.

The press release also stated that the Danish pension fund is in dialogue with six more international companies, who are being examined over possible involvement in activities in the West Bank.

The four companies already appear on Sampension’s list of several dozen excluded companies.

Read: Major European pension funds heavily invested in Israeli settlements

The move was welcomed by Danwatch, who published a report in January into Danish pension funds’ links to companies doing business in or around Israeli settlements. The investigative media and research centre’s investigation was specifically cited in Sampension’s press release, and credited for prompting the new policy.

According to Danwatch, Sampension had “invested a total of 400 million Danish kroner in Israeli and international companies with activities in settlements on the West Bank when Danwatch investigated the investments”.

At the time, the investigative media and research centre noted, “Sampension stated that they had no specific investment policy for the occupied territories, but that all of their investments must respect human rights, no matter where the companies are doing business”.