Because one of its investment recipients supplies hi-tech hardware for surveillance on the wall being built between Israel and the West Bank, Sweden's largest investment fund, Första AP-Fonden, is divesting placements in Elbit Systems on ethical grounds.

Under construction by Israelis, the Annexation Wall is planned to be 435 miles long, and more than half stands finished. According to an official company statement from the Israeli arms maker, "Elbit Systems has been selected by the Israeli Police Force to provide a border control system, called BCR 2000, for all airport, sea and land entry points."

"The Ethical Council has in the first quarter of 2010 recommended the AP funds to exclude the company Elbit Systems Ltd from their portfolios," stated an official report from the Swedish organization, and added, "All the AP funds have decided to follow this recommendation." The fund mentioned also stated that only small investment amounts were involved.

Previously, the Swedish government had classified the barrier, known as the Annexation Wall, as being illegal under international law, in compliance with a 2004 advisory ruling of the International Court in the Hague in which it was also deemed unlawful. When an identical financial action against Elbit was taken last September by the mammoth state pension fund in Norway, the Jerusalem government summoned the Norwegian ambassador and protested. At press time, similar reactions from Israel had not arrived at the Swedish embassy in Israel nor had any reached Stockholm.

Erected inside Palestinian territories, the wall separates farmers from their orchards, excludes access to the fertile Palestinian plains in the Jordan valley and totally isolates several towns. On the other hand, Israeli statistics show that it has already begun to reduce suicide bombings inside their nation.

"As a last resort, the Ethical Council may recommend each fund to exclude the company if the dialogue fails to produce the desired result. This is now the case with Elbit Systems,” said Annika Andersson, Chair of the Swedish fund's Ethical Council in 2010.

Elbit Systems proclaims on its Internet site that its "extensive experience in, and innovative approach to, all aspects of UAV systems (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems) results in outstanding operational solutions for the Israeli Defense Forces, the U.K. Ministry of Defense and other leading defense forces. In cooperation with Thales, Elbit Systems Hermes UAV systems are the base line for the U.K. Watchkeeper Tactical UAV program."

Elbit says that "military and homeland security forces worldwide" have their advanced air vehicles, ground control stations, major system hardware and software, multi-UAV command centers, UAV trainers, maintenance and support from field to operational levels. Controlled remotely via satellites, their Hermes UAVs perform electronic warfare, and their Skylark UAV's execute close range tactical missions.

Thales UK and Elbit Systems operate a joint military electronics manufacturing company based in Leicester, England. The Swedish Första AP-Fonden currently also lists Thales among its investments, but no divesting of Thales stock shares was mentioned in press communications from the Swedish organization. According to a spokesperson for the Första AP-Fonden, Thales as well as Grupo Ferrovial, PetroChina and Yahoo had addressed its concerns about ethics violations.

The Israel based military manufacturer says that they conduct most of their business in the United States through Elbit Systems of America, a Delaware limited liability company, as well as its wholly owned subsidiaries including EFW, Kollsman, International Enterprises, Innovative Concepts, and Talla-Com, Tallahassee Communications Industries. Elbit also maintains 50% ownership in Vision Systems International.

Resources: http://www.ap1.se, http://www.elbitsystems.com