Groups Urge Norway to Reinstate Investment Ban on Israeli Company

NEW YORK, September 5, 2013 (WAFA) – Three Palestinian and one US-based civil society organization have urged Norway’s Ministry of Finance to reinstate a prohibition on investment by Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global in two Israeli companies – Africa Israel and its subsidiary Danya Cebus – due to their ongoing construction of homes in Israeli settlements, a press statement by the groups said Thursday.

The call was made in a letter signed by representatives from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, and The Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, and emailed to Norway’s Council on Ethics on Wednesday.

The organizations believe that Norway’s August 2013 decision to lift the ban was based on misleading information provided by Africa Israel, denying current settlement construction.

“We are writing to express our concern that Norway’s Ministry of Finance has lifted its 2010 ban on investing funds from Norway’s Global Pension Fund in the Israeli company Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus,” said the letter.

“The lifting of the ban was based on April 2013 statements by Lev Leviev’s company Africa Israel falsely suggesting that the company was not involved in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. However, as the Israeli civil society Coalition of Women for Peace’s Who Profits project yet again documented with photos, video and a pamphlet immediately after learning of Norway’s decision, Africa Israel and Danya Cebus are currently building homes in the illegal Israeli settlement of Gilo. They have been doing so for more than two years,” it added.

Additionally, another Leviev-owned company, Leader Management and Development, continues to develop the Israeli settlement of Zufim on the land of the Palestinian village of Jayyous in the West Bank, and Leviev has donated to settlement organizations.

The groups called on Norway’s Ministry of Finance “to swiftly re-impose the prohibition on investment in Africa Israel and Danya Cebus.”

They said the Norwegian Council on Ethics has failed to consult with Palestinian civil society organizations before making its decision.

Africa Israel told the Council on Ethics in April that Africa Israel Investments Ltd. and its subsidiaries “have no current construction projects concerning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and at the present have no plans for such activities in the future.”

The group said this declaration was misleading because in October 2010, Africa Israel had announced that it would be building “121 five-room apartments in three buildings of 10-11 stories each, a fourth building with 12 stories, and a two-level parking garage” in the settlement of Gilo.

source:WAFA NEWS