UCC Resolution of Witness Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Questions and Answers
Q. Why are we recommending boycotting Israeli products produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and divestment of companies profiting from the Occupation?
The international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against companies that support the Israeli Occupation was urgently called for in the Kairos Palestine Document issued by Palestinian Christians in 2009. We view the Occupation as immoral and we actively oppose it. Boycotting and divestment are nonviolent actions for changing unjust practices. We seek peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. These actions do not challenge the existence of the State of Israel; they are focused on the continued Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land.
Q. What is wrong with the Occupation?
Illegal Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories have been established at a relentless pace throughout Palestine on land taken from the Palestinians. Israeli-only highways and separation walls have carved up the land into many isolated patches. The highways and the many checkpoints unreasonably restrict movement by the Palestinians. Palestinian homes are demolished regularly. Water rights are abused by the 0.5 million Israeli settlers who use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank. Human rights abuses include brutal treatment, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment.
Q. Who says that there are human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories?
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Habitat International Coalition, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Defense for Children International, and OXFAM are some of the respected organizations that have provided proof that human rights are being violated by the occupation.
Q. Why do you say the Settlements are illegal?
The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids an occupying power from moving its own people onto land it occupies. Israel has moved more than half a million of its citizens onto occupied Palestinian land. The Hague Conventions of 1907 and the Geneva Conventions also forbid taking or profiting from resources belonging to an occupied people. The United Nations Charter, which Israel has signed, forbids any member from taking land by force. Israel's establishment of settlements on Palestinian land, its attempts to annex part of that land, and its confiscation of Palestinian water and other resources, violate these international laws and agreements. UN Security Council Resolution 449 determined: "that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
Q. What do you hope to accomplish through boycott and divestment?
We hope to:
1. Stimulate public discussion about the realities of Occupation, which have largely been hidden from Americans, and to lay the groundwork for changing US policy.
2. Encourage Israeli leaders to seek a just and enduring peace.
3. Put companies on notice that their support for Israel's Occupation may turn away investors and customers.
4. Ensure that we as investors are not profiting from the Occupation.
5. Provide hope to Palestinians who see their freedom denied every day.
Q. Which companies are targeted for divestment?
1. Some companies have a physical presence on occupied land in industrial zones connected with the settlements, which are illegal under international law.
2. Many companies are involved in building and equipping the infrastructure of the occupation.
3. Some companies help sustain and profit from the occupation by equipping Israel's occupation forces.
Targeted companies include: Caterpillar, maker of bulldozers used to raze Palestinian homes; Motorola Solutions, provider of surveillance equipment for Israeli forces and Jewish-only settlements within the occupied territories; and Hewlett-Packard, which provides, sometimes through subsidiaries, the biometric monitoring system for Israeli checkpoints and information technology for the Israeli Navy.
Q. Who else supports Boycotting and Divestment?
Boycotting and divestment has been called for by:
Palestinian Christians as described in the Kairos Palestine 2009 document.
Many Christian churches including the World Council of Churches, Methodist Church of Great Britain, many conferences of the US United Methodist Church, South African Council of Churches, Australian Council of Churches, The Church of Ireland, The Church of England, Quakers of Great Britain, United Church of Canada, Toronto.
Many businesses are severing their ties with the occupation like Deutsche Bank, Danske Bank, Heineken Breweries, and Marks and Spencer British supermarket chain.
Many Jewish groups including Americans for Peace Now, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Jews for a Just Peace, and Rabbis for Human Rights.