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Oslo pressured to dump Africa Israel as well

Nimrod Halpern | Ha’aretz

7 September 2009

A day after Norway announced its divestment from holdings in electronics defense company Elbit Systems for ideological reasons, human rights organizations are calling on Oslo to dump its holdings in Africa Israel Investments as well.

Norway’s problem with Elbit Systems is its provision of equipment to monitor the separation fence between Israel and the Palestinian territories. The human rights organizations’ problem with Africa Israel is the role of subsidiary Danya Cebus in building homes in West Bank settlements, reports the Adnkronos International Web site.

The human rights organization Adalah argues that the Africa Israel group, led by Lev Leviev, is violating international law through its construction activity in the territories.

The Norwegian government owns $1.1 million worth of Africa Israel stock, according to figures from Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank.

Leviev was also recently put under pressure after announcing major liquidity problems with the Africa Israel group.

The British charity Oxfam and United Nations’ fund UNICEF have rejected donations from Leviev. In March, the British embassy in Israel decided against leasing a floor in a building owned by Africa Israel.

Last month, the investments fund Blackrock, which had been the second biggest shareholder in Africa Israel, wiped out its holdings in the company because of pressure from Scandinavian funds.

Blackrock denied that its decision resulted from pressure following Africa Israel’s construction in the West Bank.