Palestinian civil society salutes Presbyterians on divestment resolution
Occupied Palestine – The Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that is leading the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, warmly welcomes the brave decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly in Detroit to divest its holdings from three US corporations – Hewlett Packard (HP), Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar – on the basis of their well-documented record of complicity in the oppression and denial of human rights of Palestinians.
This is a historic decision that shows, with concrete measures, the deep commitment of the Presbyterian Church to truth and justice. With this move, the Presbyterian church concludes a decade-old process of engagement with these three corporations, where evidence was presented of their role in Israel’s commission of crimes against Palestinians with no sway in their egregious behavior, leaving the Presbyterians with no choice but to divest.
Bisan Mitri of the Palestinian BDS National Committee said: “The Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment decision is inspiring and morally courageous. It is a victory for all peace with justice loving people around the world. It shows that commitment to justice comes with a moral obligation to act: the time has come for other church denominations to follow suit.”
The move comes on the day when the Israeli army killed 15-year old Mohammed Dudeen as it conducts collective punishment sweeps across the West Bank and steps up its incessant and indiscriminate bombings in Gaza. The participation of HP, Motorola and Caterpillar in these violations is undeniable and well documented. HP technology is used daily to enforce israel’s navy blockade of Gaza, which has devastated Gaza’s economy and destroyed its once-thriving fishing industry. Motorola Solutions technology is used in Israel’s apartheid wall and Israeli settlements. Caterpillar bulldozers enable Israel’s routine demolition of Palestinian homes. These are just a few examples of how these corporations have knowingly provided material support to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians. As this decision demonstrates, divestment has become a moral imperative, in addition to a legal requirement, as governments, in particular the US government, have failed to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
“This groundbreaking decision by the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a warning to HP, Motorola, Cat and other corporations complicit with Israel’s occupation that pressure on them is building and they must withdraw from these damaging contracts in Israel and be held accountable,” said Mitri
The Presbyterian resolution passed by a count of 310 to 303, triggering the Church to instruct divestment of its $21 million holdings in these companies. Earlier this month the US Methodist Church announced a decision to divest from G4S, a corporation complicit in the abuse of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and other violations.
Rifat Kassis, general coordinator of Kairos Palestine, said "the Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment decision gives hope to Palestinians and sends them a message that they are not alone."