United Church of Christ
Palestine - Israel Network


                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.


Q. How is the occupation harming Israel?

In Israel, the expense of wars and military occupation is draining the Israeli economy and having a negative effect on its society as a whole. Today, almost a quarter (23.6%) of all Israelis live in poverty. A letter from more than 130 Israelis to the United Methodist Church supporting divestment states: “Israelis suffer from loss of life, increase in militarism, and a steady devaluation of human life.”

Q. Won't our actions destroy relationships between the UCC and Jews?

The UCC has long valued peaceful relationships but also has valued justice and fairness. We can love and respect Jews and still critique some of their state’s actions. Boycott and divestment is supported by many Jewish organizations. Our actions are aimed not at the State of Israel but at the Occupation, which is doing great damage to Israel and threatens long-term peace. 

Q. Won't divestment harm Palestinian workers?

There is overwhelming support in the occupied territories for boycott, divestment and sanctions against companies that support the Israeli occupation. Palestinians themselves launched this campaign in 2005. It was urgently called for in the Kairos Palestine Document issued by Palestinian Christians in 2009. The three main Palestinian unions - The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, the General Union of Palestinian Workers and the Palestinian Federation of Independent Trade Unions - have all endorsed and recently reiterated their support for the Palestinian civil society campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. 

Q. Who are the Palestinian people and where are they?

Palestinians are the peoples who have lived in Palestine since the seventh century. They are Arab in language and culture and mostly Muslim in religion although there are many Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Israel. About 1.6 million Palestinians are Israeli citizens within Israel proper. About 6 million live in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.  
Palestinian refugees live in Jordan (3 million), Syria and Lebanon (1.5 million), Saudi Arabia, and Chile (0.5 million). About half of the refugees are stateless and lack citizenship.


Q. Where can I get more information?

Much of the information here was excerpted from extensive websites done by the Methodists.


The Kairos Palestine document can be read at:

There is lots of good information at this UCC Palestine-Israel Network site:

Answers to many challenging questions is at:
Resolution Questions and Answers
Also go to www.UCCPIN.org for more information on the resolution.