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Nordea puts Israeli holdings under the loop

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07:17 CET+01:00
Swedish bank Nordea has vowed to review its holding in two Israeli banks for possible ties to the building of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Several European pension funds have pulled funding from and blacklisted companies that contributed to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories considered illegal by the international community.

However Stockholm-headquartered Nordea, which has investments in two banks, wants to meet to discuss the matter before taking a decision.

The continued building of Israeli settlements on occupied territory remains a complicating factor in Middle East peace negotiations. The settlements are considered illegal by the United Nations and other international bodies.

On Friday, Norway's oil fund blacklisted two companies with ties to the settlements. Last autumn, Danske Bank sold its stake in an Israeli bank and blacklisted it.

Nordea, which has holdings in Israeli banks Mizrahi and Hapolaim, plans to examine the banks for possible ties to settlements said Nordea's head of corporate social responsibility, Sasja Beslik, to the TT news agency.

Nordea has launched a dialogue with the banks as well as companies HP and Veolia regarding their activities in Israel, and plans to meet with them in the coming months.

"We haven't come to any decision about a ban. We're going to meet them in March in order to understand how they manage their risk in relation to dealing with human rights in their operations in Israel. After we've met with them, we'll analyze what comes up and then our committee will take a decision," she told TT.

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Beslik emphasized that Nordea only owns about four million kronor ($610,000) worth of stock in the two banks.

Sweden's three other large banks, Swedbank, Handelsbanken, and SEB have no investments in Israeli banks, nor do any of Sweden's AP state pension funds, TT reported.

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