Norway fund blacklists Caterpillar over concerns of Israel using bulldozers in Gaza

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Norway’s largest pension fund said Wednesday it had divested from US industrial group Caterpillar because of the risk its equipment was being used by the Israeli army in Gaza.

“For a long time, Caterpillar has supplied bulldozers and other equipment that has been used to demolish Palestinian homes and infrastructure to clear the way for Israeli settlements,” Kiran Aziz, head of responsible investments at KLP, said in a statement.

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“It has also been alleged that the company’s equipment is being used by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in connection with its military campaign in Gaza following the Hamas attack on October 7 last year,” she added.

Because of this, there is a “risk that the US company may be contributing to human rights abuses and violation of international law in the West Bank and Gaza,” KLP said.

The fund said that since Caterpillar “cannot provide us with assurances that it is doing anything in this regard, we have decided to exclude the company from investment.”

KLP -- not to be confused with Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund -- said that earlier this month it owned Caterpillar stock valued at 728 million kroner ($68.6 million), which it had now divested.

The fund has around $90 billion under management.

In April 2021, KLP excluded companies linked to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including telecom equipment giant Motorola.

The Gaza Health ministry says at least 37,658 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive following Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel.

That attack resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian militants also took 251 people hostage in the attack, 116 of whom remain captive in the Gaza Strip, according to Israel. The army says 42 of those are dead.

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