Creating new perspectives since 2009

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund mull divesting from Israel

December 24, 2022 at 11:58 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide (L) as they pose for a photo ahead of their meeting in western Jerusalem [Amos Ben Gershom /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is considering reviewing its investments in Israel to ensure that its funds do not finance settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli media reported on Friday.

The Fund manages and invests revenue from the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the government’s developmental budget worth $1.3 trillion and is the largest of its kind in the world.

It owns some 1.3 per cent of the world’s publicly traded companies.

Israeli daily Haaretz said officials in Israel believe the latest move was influenced by the UN’s 2020 decision to issue a blacklist of more than 100 global companies that conduct businesses linked to Israeli settlements.

The Fund has in the past divested from numerous companies around the world for activities it deemed unethical, including a number of Israeli companies involved in settlements.

In 2020, the Norwegian Fund invested $1.3 billion in 81 Israeli companies – about a third of its total Middle East investments.

Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories urged that an updated version of the blacklist be released as soon as possible.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the review started last year, but the nature of the new Israeli government might accelerate the process leading to divestment sooner than later.

A source told the TV that attempts were made to persuade the Fund to backtrack from this step, but Palestine Voice reported that the Fund stipulated that Israeli banks stop transferring money to settlements.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry have described reports about this review as a “dangerous development.”

READ: Abbas: We will not allow Israel to target the Christian presence in Palestine