Norwegian Peoplesâ Aid and the Norwegian Minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen, have called on the Council of Ethics in the Government Pension Fund to reopen the divestment case against the Israel Electric Company (IEC) on account of the recent power cuts to the population of Gaza. The Government Pension Fund has around $20 million invested in the IEC. The IEC, which is 99.8% is owned by the Israeli state, is known for providing electricity for illegal West Bank settlements and has been responsible for cutting power to Gaza on several occasions.
It is not the first time the request for divestment from the IEC has been discussed in the council. Two years ago the Council of Churches reported the company to the council for divestment because the IEC was involved in providing electricity to illegal settlements in the West Bank. Even though the IEC violated the human rights standards of the ethics council, divestment was not carried out. The investigation done at the time was neither thorough nor professional and the conclusions that were published showed a shocking lack of understanding of the situation on the West Bank. For example, in the statement to the Norwegian Government, the council bizarrely stated that infrastructure constructed by the IEC for settlements would benefit both Palestinians and settlers.
Given the lack of competent information gathering displayed by the council, both the Norwegian Peoples Aid and Socialist Youth League in Norway have been involved in collecting data in Palestine as well as engaging in awareness raising in Norway to further the case for divestment. Furthermore, many Norwegian cities that have relations with cities in Gaza have sent letters to the Council of Ethics asking for divestment from the IEC.