We are writing to you from Israel to ask for your help. Together with our friends, we have been working for many years for a just and peaceful end to the occupation of Palestine and for the rights of Palestinians.
In recent years we have found it very encouraging to see that increasing numbers of people are paying attention to this issue. Churches in particular are very important for setting a moral example for others and this is why we are appealing to you. We look upon those in the American Christian tradition of social justice as natural allies and as such we ask that you support the proposal to divest funds of the Presbyterian Church from three companies that are complicit in the systematic destruction of Palestinian society - Caterpillar, Motorola, and HP.
To take just one recent example of how cynical and cruel this process is, the Israeli press recently reported that senior Army officials admit (what has been obvious for a long time) that the army purposely displaces Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Other patterns of Israeli conduct are downright murderous. The situation is summarized by the Israeli legal NGO Yesh Din:
Most cases of violent crimes against Palestinians not only go unpunished - but often are completely ignored by the authorities. This is a blatant violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank and of Israel's duties under International Humanitarian Law.
Even when criminal investigations against soldiers accused of such offences are opened, they almost always fail. According to research carried out by Yesh Din, approximately 94 percent of criminal investigations launched by the IDF against soldiers suspected of criminal violent activity against Palestinians and their property are closed without any indictments. In the rare cases that indictments are served, conviction leads to very light sentencing. 1
This kind of policy is immoral by any standard, let alone by the standards of a church which seeks to set an example for others. It would not only be immoral but also inconsistent with the long standing position of the church to make financial profit from those three companies who profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands. Both Caterpillar, Motorola and HP continue to supply the Israeli military with products and technology that are used to violate basic Palestinian rights.
This point has been made to these companies many times. We have been trying to make this point heard in Israel and abroad. Still such practices are not halted. On the contrary, last week Israel has announced plans for the construction of 1500 new units of settlement2 housing, further deepening its control of Palestinian land and further perpetuating injustice. What nonviolent means do we Israelis have to oppose these policies ? What can Palestinians do? Many Israelis and Israeli organizations have endorsed and advocated divestment of settlement products in various ways. We are asking you as friends and as friends of peace to do the most helpful, most moral and most consistent act of divesting from companies which help carry out these Israeli policies.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within (aka Boycott from Within)