19. Dec 2014
Danish investment funds invest 689 million dkk. in companies with activities in the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, a new report from Danwatch shows.
The investment funds
Against international law
The investment funds investigated by DanWatch are Danske Invest, Nykredit Invest, Bank Invest, Nordea Invest, Sydinvest, Jyske Invest, Sparinvest and SEB Invest. All investment funds are subject to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The UN, EU and the Danish government have repeatedly warned companies against investing in the Israeli occupation. Both the Israeli settlements, the separation wall and checkpoints in the West Bank are against international law, since they violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.
However, DanWatch has identified investments for over half a billion in companies that deliver surveillance equipment to checkpoints, cement and building materials to the maintenance of the separation wall and bulldozers to the Israeli army. The investment funds thereby risk complicity in human rights violations in the occupied territories.
Disagreement on blacklisting
In a survey made by DanWatch, all of the investment funds refer to ethical guidelines in accordance with UN conventions, however they far from agree on which companies it is ethically viable to invest in.
For instance, the investment funds Bank Invest, Jyske Invest and Sydinvest have in total invested 13 million dkk. in Cemex, a company that owns a cement supplier to the Israeli settlements, checkpoints and the wall. For the same reason Cemex is blacklisted by Nordea Invest, which on the other hand hold investments in the Israeli bank Hapoalim Bank, that for one provides loans to construction projects in settlements and is blacklisted by Danske Invest.
With one exception, all the funds have investments in the large American corporation Caterpillar, that supplies the D9 bulldozers the Israeli army use for house demolitions. According to Human Rights Watch it was the same bulldozers which in 2010 were used to destroy buildings while civilians were still residing.
The investments continue inspite of the Danish Government’s many appeals to Danish companies to avoid activities which could benefit the Israeli settlements. In September the Danish minister of Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen (S) stated that:
“The government has on several occasions publicly reminded that it advises Danish citizens and businesses against engaging in arrangements which could benefit Israeli settlements. This I appropriately remind of again”.