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United Methodist Church - New England renews divestment efforts

May 28, 2010

Below you will find the report of the Divestment Taskforce (2010) of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click here to read the report on the Conference website.

 

 

Below you will find the report of the Divestment Taskforce (2010) of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click here to read the report on the Conference website.

 

 

Background
Despite renewed talk of negotiations between Israelis and
Palestinians, Israel’s expanding settlement activities and other
actions on the ground, as well as rockets occasionally fired from the
Gaza Strip by Palestinans, place enormous obstacles in the way of
progress toward peace. 
We are concerned for the humanitarian crisis in the occupied
Palestinian territories, especially the Gaza Strip which has been under
a devastating siege for three years. More than 1400 Palestinians were
killed and over 5,000 wounded in a 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza,
which also killed ten Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians. 
Palestinians face soaring unemployment, malnutrition, restrictions on
movement, denial of medical care, denial of access to their
agricultural lands, humiliation at checkpoints, and extended closures. 
More than 4 million Palestinian refugees live in poverty, while
Israelis live in their homes and on their lands.
Israeli soldiers have repeatedly fired on non-violent protesters,
killing and wounding not only Palestinians, but Israelis and
international peace activists who have stood with them.  Settlers have
also been involved in many acts of violence against Palestinians.
Portions of the separation wall built inside the West Bank, as
well as segregated roads and checkpoints, are strangling Palestinian
towns like Bethlehem and destroying their economies. In addition,
Palestinians have limited access to water supplies - Israelis have four
times as much water as Palestinians.
The occupation harms Israelis as well. The expense of wars and
military occupation is draining the Israeli economy and having a
negative effect on its society as a whole. Today, 1.6 million Israelis
(nearly a quarter of the population) live in poverty(1).

United Methodists Called to Action

Our Christian faith calls us to reject violence of any kind, and
to reject acts of aggression that provoke violence.  As United
Methodists, we are committed to work for justice, and to refuse to be
complacent in the face of such monumental human suffering.  We are also
called to support other members of the Body of Christ around the world.
In 2005, the New England Annual Conference passed Resolution 204 with regard to divestment from companies supporting the Israeli occupation.
It is important to note that one key part of our resolution
focused on the need for Jerusalem to remain an open city for people of
all three faiths. We are committed to a shared Jerusalem, and are
concerned that the planned expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied
East Jerusalem and the eviction of Palestinians from their homes
continues to impede that goal. 
Divestment Task Force Report
Since the last report of the Divestment Task Force in 2007, the
panel has continued its research into companies supporting the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian land. One of its members traveled to the
occupied territories with a United Methodist study group specifically
to document the involvement of various companies with the
occupation. As a result of this research and in accordance with its
mandate, the task force has issued a list of nine additional companies
which are helping sustain the Israeli occupation.
The occupation has continued, as more Palestinian land has been
confiscated for illegal settlements built outside Israel’s
internationally recognized borders. More than 500,000 Israelis now live
on occupied land in the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention. As this report was being prepared, the Israeli government
announced the building of 1600 new settlement homes in the West Bank
near East Jerusalem. A March 11, 2010 report in the Israeli newspaper
Haaretz stated that 50,000 new housing units in [occupied] East
Jerusalem are in various stages of planning and approval. The United
States and other countries around the world have expressed their
opposition to these developments which violate international law.

Development of the Report

The Divestment Task Force was created to implement Resolution 204, which was passed by the 2005 New England Annual Conference (“RS-204:
Resolution on Divesting from Companies that are Supporting in a
Significant Way the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories
”).  The task force includes eight clergy and lay members representing four of the five states in the Conference.    
In 2007, the task force compiled an initial list of twenty
companies that individuals, United Methodist churches and investment
managers in the New England Conference can use to make selective and
voluntary choices about their investment decisions.  The names of these
companies were released after careful study and after giving each
company a chance to respond to task force concerns. All met at least
one of the following criteria:  
  • Providing support for the occupation’s infrastructure  (settlements, roads, checkpoints, or portions of the separation wall built on occupied land),
  • Having a physical presence such as a factory or store on occupied land, or
  • Providing the Israeli military with offensive weapons or items used to enforce the occupation of Palestinian land.

(click here to read more about the process of the task force.)

The task force continues to examine companies to determine which
ones support the Israeli occupation.  In April 2010, an update to the
initial report added 9 more companies to the divestment recommendations
list. (click here to read the latest Report Summary - updated April 2010).
Report Recommendations
The Divestment Task Force recommends divestment from the list of
companies included below. Reasons for the inclusion in this list are
provided for each company, and those reasons are backed up with
supporting documentation.  Details are included in the documentation
for the report (click here).
“Ending the Israeli occupation is a stated goal of The United
Methodist Church,” said Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the New England
Conference. “This report provides concrete information that can be used
by New England Methodists in working toward that goal.”

Companies Supporting the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Land: (Updated April 2010)

(The names of the nine new
companies added to the list in April 2010 are printed in orange. Those
included in the earlier report are in blue. All summaries have been
reviewed and are up to date as of April, 2010. The
Task Force wishes to acknowledge the immeasurable help provided by the
Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel, which has answered many
questions and operates the web site
www.WhoProfits.org)
1. ALLIANT TECH SYSTEMS
(NYSE:ATK) is engaged with an Israeli company in the production of
rubber-coated bullets. Such bullets are frequently used against
Palestinians, as well as Israeli and international peace activists
engaged in peaceful demonstrations to protest Israel’s confiscation of
Palestinian land.  Rubber bullets often blind, disfigure or kill those
who are hit by them. Alliant is also engaged in other contracts that
support the Israeli military, which enforces the occupation. The
company produces fuses for cluster bombs and Guided Multiple Launch
Rocket Systems. 
2. BLOCKBUSTER (NYSE:BBI)
has kiosks in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. They
are important in creating a climate of permanence and normalcy in
illegal communities established on occupied territory. The settlements
have been identified as key impediments to peace in the region. 
3. BOEING (NYSE:BA)
has been a major supplier of the F15 Eagle and the AH64 Apache attack
helicopter to Israel. These aircraft have been used to attack
Palestinians in the occupied territories, resulting in many civilian
casualties.  Boeing makes missile systems, F15 software, Apache
Helicopters, and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), a guided
air-to-surface weapon. All these weapons are sold to the Israeli
military and were used in the massive Israeli assault on Gaza at
year-end 2008. 
4. CATERPILLAR CORPORATION (NYSE:CAT)
supplies bulldozers and earth-moving equipment to the Israeli military
(IDF) through the US Foreign Military Sales program. It knows the IDF
uses these to destroy Palestinian homes, orchards and olive groves in
the Occupied Territories. These are clearly violent acts aimed at
civilians. Caterpillar's Israeli representative Israel Tractors and
Equipment (ITE), owned by Zoko Enterprises, has collaborated with InRob
Tech and Israel Aircraft Industries to robotize Caterpillar bulldozers
and equipment to perform unmanned military operations for the Israeli
army.  Caterpillar’s weaponized bulldozers were used to clear the way
for ground troops in Israel’s 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip. The
IDF considers these bulldozers such an important part of its weaponry
that it has announced plans to draft civilians to maintain them on the
battlefield. Caterpillar bulldozers and earth-moving equipment are used
to clear Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, segregated
roads and the Separation Barrier which annexes Palestinian land to
Israel.
5. CELLCOM ISRAEL (NYSE:CEL)
erected close to two hundred antennas and telecommunication
infrastructure facilities on occupied land in the West Bank and the
Golan Heights. In violation of the Oslo Accords, it pays no fees to the
Palestinian Authority for operating in the West Bank.  The company
provides cellular communication services to the illegal settlers and to
Israeli soldiers in the occupied territory. It floods the Palestinian
market with prepaid phone cards, thus undercutting the approved
Palestinian cell phone companies.
6. CEMENT ROADSTONE HOLDINGS (NYSE:CRH)
owns 25% of Mashav Initiating and Development Ltd., which is the
holding company for Israel’s largest cement producer, Nesher Cement.
Nesher accounts for 85% of all cement sales to the Israeli market. Its
chairman has admitted that “in all likelihood” the company provides
cement for the separation wall. The company’s products are also used in
the construction of settlements and other infrastructure of the
occupation.  
7. CEMEX
(AMEX:CEQ), based in Mexico, owns Readymix, which has production
facilities in the illegal settlements of Atarot, Mevoh Horon and Mishor
Adumim, as well as Katzerin in the occupied Golan Heights.  Cemex
purchased the parent company of Readymix, RMC Group plc, in 2005.
Readymix also owns a quarry on occupied land in the West Bank, and has
provided concrete elements for construction of occupation
infrastructure.   
8. ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD.
(NASDAQ:ESLT) is an international defense electronics company
headquartered in Israel.  It is a major supplier to the Israeli
military (IDF), which is enforcing the occupation of Palestinian land.
According to the Coalition of Women for Peace, it is one of two main
providers of the electronic detection fence for the separation wall in
the occupied West Bank.  It supplied and incorporated LORROS
surveillance cameras in the Ariel and A-ram sections of the separation
wall.  The company supplies UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to the
Israeli army, which has used these to kill and maim Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza.
9. FORMULA SYSTEMS LTD. (NASDAQ:FORTY)
is a global information technology (IT) solutions and services company
based in Israel. It is the parent company of MATRIX (TLV: MTRX), which
outsources information technology services for its client companies to
settlers at the illegal settlement of Modi’in Illit in the West Bank.
An Israeli company called Emblaze (LON:BLZ) owns 50.1% of Formula
Systems. 
10. GENERAL DYNAMICS (NYSE:GD)
subsidiary General Dynamics Land Systems  manufactures the GD 883
diesel engine for Israel’s Merkava 4 battle tanks.  It has supplied
about 1,000 M60A3 Main Battle Tanks to Israel. These tanks are
frequently used against Palestinians in the occupied territories.  It
also produces equipment used on the F-16 Fighting Falcon Jets sold to
Israel. General Dynamics is the general contractor for the production
of 3,500 MK-84 "general purpose" bombs, spares and repair parts for
Israel. These were among the weapons used in Israel’s recent massive
assault on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1400 Palestinians.
11. GENERAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION (NYSE:GE)
supplies the propulsion system for Israel’s AH64 Apache Assault
Helicopter, which has been used in Israeli attacks on Palestinian towns
and refugee camps.  It also possesses contracts with Israel to sell
engines for a variety of military aircraft.  In addition, GE possesses
several Israeli service contracts for engineering support and
testing.   
12. GLOBECOMM SYSTEMS INC (GSI) (NASDAQ: GCOM) of New York, in partnership with
Tadiran Spectralink of the Elisra Group (Israel), supplies the
Israeli military (IDF) with equipment and facilities for communication
between all branches of the IDF ground forces. The system includes
mobile stations installed on HMMWV vehicles. These vehicles are used by
the IDF in the occupied territories.
13. HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY (NYSE:HPQ)
owns Electronic Data Systems, which heads a consortium providing
biometric monitoring of checkpoints, including several built inside the
West Bank in violation of international law.  HP also supplies printers
and computers to the Israeli military (IDF), which enforces the
occupation. The Israeli Navy has chosen HP Israel to implement the
outsourcing of its IT infrastructure.  Under the project, HP Israel
will assume full responsibility for the management and operation of the
Navy’s IT infrastructure, including computer and communications
centers, information security and full end user support. The Israeli
Navy has attacked ships carrying humanitarian aid to the people of
Gaza.  It regularly attacks Gaza’s fishermen within Gaza’s own
territorial waters, and has often shelled civilian areas in the Gaza
Strip, killing Palestinians. Hewlett Packard subsidiary HP Invent
outsources IT services to a company called Matrix, which employs
settlers in the illegal settlement of Modi’in Illit to do much of its
IT work at low wages.  
14. ICX TECHNOLOGIES (NASDAQ:ICXT)
makes surveillance radar.  One of the systems that uses the ICx radar
is MotoEagle, a Motorola surveillance system used in Israel’s illegal
settlements.  On September 18, 2009 Magal Security Systems and ICx
announced a partnership agreement
whereby Magal will offer ICx ground-surveillance radars as part of its
overall outdoor and perimeter solutions portfolio. Magal provides
intrusion detection fencing for the separation wall. 
15. INGERSOLL RAND (NYSE:IR)
subsidiary Recognition Systems (RSI) (also called Schlage Recognition
Systems) manufactures biometric access control equipment and attendance
recorders which are used in Israeli checkpoints built on Palestinian
land inside the West Bank. In 1999, RSI was subcontracted by Electronic
Data Systems (EDS, a Hewlett-Packard company) to provide hand geometry
readers for the Basel Project. The Basel System is an automated
biometric access control system for Palestinian workers installed in at
least seven checkpoints, four of which are in the West Bank. The
Ingersoll Rand hand geometry reader is applied only to Palestinians,
and not to others who use these checkpoints. This means that it is part
of a discriminatory system installed in checkpoints built illegally on
Palestinian land.
16. ITT CORPORATION
(NYSE:ITT) provides the Israeli military with intensifier tubes for
night vision goggles. Night vision goggles are used by pilots,
co-pilots and crews of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, especially
helicopter crews. They enable Israel to attack refugee camps and
villages in the middle of the night, the time when many of these raids
and assaults take place. In September, 2007, ITT purchased arms
manufacturer EDO, which produces components of bomb racks used by the
F16 war planes sold to Israel and used in Israel’s 2008-09 assault on
the Gaza Strip.  ITT has said the acquisition would give it a bigger
role in weapons systems including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and
the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship. The Littoral Combat Ship was used in
the Gaza assault.  It is being used to intercept boats carrying aid to
Gaza and to prevent fishermen from accessing fishing grounds off Gaza’s
coast. 
17. LOCKHEED MARTIN  (NYSE:LMT) is the single biggest overseas supplier for the Israeli armaments
industry.  It has received billions of dollars for supplying arms,
including missile systems and fighter planes, to Israel. It has many
ongoing contracts, including manufacturing F16I  fighter bombers used
by the Israeli military (IDF) against Palestinians.   Lockheed Martin
Missile and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida produces the Hellfire
missile system for Apache attack helicopters used by Israel against
Palestinians.  According to a military trade publication, Israel’s main
battle tank, the Merkava MK4 is produced by the Lockheed Martin Skunk
Works Group.  These tanks, missiles and fighter planes were used in
Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza, during which more than 1400
Palestinians and 13 Israelis (including 10 soldiers) were killed.
18. MAGAL SECURITY SYSTEMS (NASDAQ:MAGS) is an Israeli company that is providing intrusion detection fencing for the separation wall.  According to the Coalition of Women for Peace, it won
80% of the bids published by the Israeli Ministry of Defense for the
installation of these fences, and supplied the perimeter intrusion
detection for fences around the Gaza Strip. It is listed in a
government of Israel web site as one of the contractors engaged in the construction of the separation wall. 
19. MOTOROLA (NYSE:MOT)
has a $90 million contract to provide the Israeli army with an advanced
"Mountain Rose" cell phone communications system.  Its wholly owned
subsidiary in Israel has a contract to develop encrypted wireless
communications for the military featuring vehicle-mounted antenna.  It
also has antennae in military installations in the West Bank.  Working
with Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS), Motorola developed a perimeter
defense system called Stronghold as well as a wide angle surveillance
system, to be used in the West Bank.  In April, 2009, Motorola sold ADS
its Government Electronics Division (GED), which developed
these perimeter systems and produced fuses for Israeli bombs.  However,
it retained control over the settlement surveillance systems which now
go by the name of MotoEagle.  Motorola surveillance cameras can be seen
on Israeli watch towers throughout the West Bank.  According to
Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace, Motorola's subsidiary MIRS has
at least 70 cell phone towers in illegal settlements in the West Bank
and MIRS has developed a special pricing plan for settlers.  In June,
2009, Motorola announced it would sell MIRS.  However, Motorola plans
to keep its contracts for the Israeli army communications system.
Motorola subcontracts IT services to settlers in the settlement of
Modi’in Illit through a company called Matrix.  Clearly Motorola is
still deeply involved with the occupation.  
20. NORTHROP GRUMMAN (NYSE:NOC) collaborates with Lockheed Martin in producing the Israeli
F16I Sufa (‘Storm’) aircraft by providing the AN/APG68 (V)9 multimode
radar that provides for high-resolution ground mapping.  With Lockheed
Martin, Northrop Grumman also produces the Longbow System which, when
installed in the Apache helicopter, greatly enhances the Apache’s
lethality.  The Longbow system includes fire control radar and the
Hellfire Missile. In 2000 and 2001, Congress was notified of more than
$500 million and $509 million respectively in pending Apache Longbow
attack helicopter sales to Israel.  Apache Longbows were used in the
recent assault on Gaza, in which more than 1400 Palestinians and 13
Israelis (10 of them soldiers) were killed. 
21. ON TRACK INNOVATIONS (NASDAQ:OTIV),
an Israeli company, has developed the Basel System, which uses two
biometric sensors to read the facial dimensions and hand geometry of
Palestinians crossing through the Erez checkpoint. It is part of a
consortium headed by Electronic Data Systems (a Hewlett-Packard
company), which is developing systems based on this technology for
seven other checkpoints, including several inside the West Bank. 
22. OSHKOSH TRUCK COMPANY (NYSE:OSK)
through contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, supplies
mobility tactical trucks to the Israeli Military. These include cargo
trucks with winches, wreckers and tractors. This type of equipment is
used by the Israeli military in the occupied territories. Israel also
has a $145 million contract with Oshkosh Truck Corporation to build
more than 900 armor kits for Israel’s Medium Tactical Vehicles. 
23. RAYTHEON (NYSE:RTN)
is a major arms contractor to the Israeli military. It supplies
Patriot, Sparrow, Sidewinder, Maverick and TOW missiles. The Maverick
is a precision, air-to-ground missile that is used against small mobile
and hard targets. Missiles are frequently used against Palestinians in
crowded residential areas such as refugee camps.  They are also used in
targeted assassinations of Palestinians without trial, evidence, or the
opportunity for defense.
24. SILICON GRAPHICS
(SGI) (NASDAQ:SGIC) has a contract to provide Israeli Air Force F15
pilots with visual system training.  SGI’s system will also allow
training for F-16 pilots using night vision goggles and sensors.  An
SGI graphics system serves as the image generator for the Israeli Air
Force’s UH60/CH53 Helicopter Aircrew Weapon Systems Trainer.  These
aircraft have been used in attacks on Palestinians in the occupied
territories. 
25. TEREX CORPORATION (NYSE:TEX)
subsidiary American Truck Company (ATC) signed a $54 million agreement
to supply 302 medium tactical trucks and associated logistical support
to the Israeli army.  Terex’s ATC also received a contract with the
Israeli army for training, service and spare parts.  Terex supplied
TATRA trucks used by the Israeli army to mount artillery systems during
the time it owned a controlling interest in that company. Terex owns
Amida Industries, which manufactures mobile floodlight towers used by
the Israeli Army in the Occupied Territories. Terex owns Demag Cranes.
Until 2007, these were leased in Israel through Riwal, a major crane
supplier for construction of Israel’s Separation Wall.  Riwal sold its
crane leasing business to Sarens, a Belgian company, in 2007.  Sarens
also provides cranes to Israel. 
26. UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (NYSE:UTX)
produces Blackhawk helicopters which are used by the Israeli military
to attack Palestinian cities, refugee camps and villages. Many
civilians have been killed in these attacks. On February 1, 2001,
United Technologies Sikorsky Division announced a $211.8 million
contract with the Israeli Air Force.  On June 15, 2009, Sikorsky
Aircraft Corp. and Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT) announced
successful completion of the test phase for the Armed BLACK HAWK (ABH)
demonstrator helicopter, also known as the BATTLEHAWK helicopter. In
addition to providing Israel with new armed helicopters, the program
will produce kits to adapt previously sold Blackhawk helicopters to the
new armed configuration. United Technologies Pratt and Whitney Division
produces engines for Israel’s F15 and F16 aircraft, which have been
used against Palestinian civilians.  In 2005, Israel awarded Pratt and
Whitney a contract worth up to $600 million for fleet management of
these engines over the next 10 years. 
27. VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION (NYSE:VLO)
is one of the major suppliers of fuel to the Israeli military. This
includes at least two types of fuel: JP-8 fuel which powers combat
aircraft and tanks, and EN590 fuel, which is diesel fuel required for
heavy trucks and equipment.  Valero provided much of the jet fuel used
in Israel’s 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip in which more than 1400
Palestinians and 13 Israelis (10 of them soldiers) were killed. 
28. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT
(NYSE:VE) operates a waste dump for settlements on occupied land in the
West Bank through its subsidiary TMM Onyx. Veolia subsidiary Connex
operates busses that serve at least three illegal settlements in the
West Bank. Connex is a central partner in a $500 million light rail
system designed to link Jerusalem to illegal settlements in the
occupied West Bank. This will make the settlements more convenient and
less likely to be moved, as UN resolutions and international law
require. Veolia owns 5% of the CityPass consortium building the system,
and was awarded a lucrative contract to operate the system for the next
30 years. Veolia’s energy company Dalkia signed an agreement to provide
electricity to the light rail system.  In early June, 2009, after
losing $7 billion in contracts due to its involvement with the
occupation, Veolia announced it would withdraw from the light rail
project.  If this happens it will not take place for at least five
years, during which it will help train another company for the
project. In the meantime it continues to further the completion of a
transportation system designed to strengthen the illegal settlements.
29. VOLVO
(NASDAQ:VOLV) bulldozers have been photographed and videotaped
destroying Palestinian homes.  They have also been used in Israel’s
construction of the Separation Wall, portions of which are on
Palestinian land and have been declared illegal by the International
Court of Justice.  Mayers Cars and Trucks is the exclusive Volvo
distributor in Israel, and according to Israeli sources, is one of the
main providers of construction equipment for the settlements and the
wall. Mayers owns 50% of the Mayer Davidov Garages in the illegal West
Bank industrial zone of Mishor Edomim, which bears the Volvo
name.  Volvo is part owner of the Israeli company Merkavim which
manufactures buses used to transport Palestinian political prisoners
from the occupied territory to prisons inside Israel. According to the
Coalition of Women for Peace, these buses are also used as mobile
interrogation rooms for political prisoners. Merkavim also manufactures
armored buses used for public transportation to illegal settlements in
the West Bank. 

Other Resources and Information

Report Contents:
Supporting Documents:

Additional Education and Dialogue

The task force has prepared educational materials to describe what
is happening in the Holy Land today and can provide speakers to address
the role that companies play in sustaining the deepening occupation.
To request a speaker or to ask questions about this report, please
contact task force chairman William P. Aldrich at [email protected].
__________________
Christ has called us to be a light to the nations, to replace
darkness and despair with hope rooted in love for all God’s creation.
Refusing to support an occupation that endangers Israelis as well as
Palestinians is an effective way to show our light to the world. We are
joining many other groups around the world in making our voices against
the occupation heard.  Our hope is to help bring it to an end, so
that all Israeli's and Palestinians can live in peace. 

 

References:
(1) New Israel Fund, September 5, 2006, from http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3798960,00.html 

 

May 28, 2010
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