Germany's Deutsche Bank divests from Israel firm linked to West Bank separation fence
In 2009, Norway pension fund also divested from Elbit, which manufactures a monitoring system installed on several parts of the separation fence.
Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, had sold its holdings in Israeli arms firm, Army Radio reported Sunday, citing pressure by pro-Palestinian groups as the reason for the move.
Although Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann did not state the reason for the bank's divestment of the Israeli firm, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Pax Christi, two groups critical of Elbit's involvement in the West Bank Separation fence, issued a joint statement Friday calling their divestiture campaign "a major success."
Last year, Norway's finance minister, Kristin Halvorsen, announced at a press conference in Oslo earlier in the day that its divestment of Elbit had been spurred by the firm's involvement in the construction of the separation fence.
According to a political source in Jerusalem, the Foreign Ministry had planned to issue a harsh statement of condemnation immediately after the announcement, but following the meeting with Lian the ministry decided to tone it down.
The explanations for the divestment provided by the Norwegian envoy at the meeting were apparently the reason for the ministry's moderation of its response.
At the press conference, Halvorsen said the decision was based on the recommendation of Norway's Ministry of Finance council on ethics, whose role is to ensure that government investments abroad meet ethical guidelines.
"We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law," said the minister. She said the shares were sold secretly ahead of the announcement.
Elbit manufactures a monitoring system installed on several parts of the separation fence.