The General Assembly of the United Church of Christ, (UCC) decided in it 25 convention to selectively divest from companies involved with Israel’s occupation of the west bank and Gaza, the building of the West Bank wall and the Israeli settlements within Palestinian territory.
The divestment statement is directed to all the chapters of the church in the U.S.
It basically invites all the chapters to begin the process of divestment as part of the church’s effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a just way.
‘This resolution calls the church and the U.S. government to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a just manner and requires the United Church of Christ’s Corporate Social Responsibility Ministry to begin the process of divestment from companies involved with Israel’s illegal (by UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338) occupations of the West Bank and Gaza,’ the statement reads.
As an exit strategy, the General Synod woudl want to see ‘Israel out of the occupied territories and negotiating in good faith to develop a viable Palestinian state along guidelines similar to the unofficial Geneva Accord reached in the Fall of 2003 between Israeli and Palestinian peace representatives.’
On top of the list of companies slated for divestment is Caterpillar, which bulldozers are used by the Israeli army to destroy civilian homes, uprooting trees and killing people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The church made mention of the American Peace Activist Rachel Corrie who was killed in Rafah in the Gaza Strip by a caterpillar when she was trying to prevent the Israeli army from demolishing a Palestinian house.
‘The obvious initial candidate for selective divestment would be the Illinois-based Caterpillar Corporation. Their purpose-built machines have enabled, and are still enabling, the Israeli Defense Force to destroy increasingly more Palestinian homes and olive orchards. One of these machines was instrumental in the deliberate crushing to death of the young American peace volunteer (International Solidarity Movement) Rachel Corrie in Gaza on March 16, 2003. Rachel was the first non-Palestinian peace activist to be killed in the Occupied Territories by the IDF.’
‘She [Rachel] shared the fate of some 2300 Palestinians (the vast majority of them civilians) who were killed by Israeli troops or settlers during the Intifada from September 2000 to March 2003,’ the statement added.
In its resolution, the church affirmed the right of the Palestinians to their own independent state, whether it is through a one-state or two-state solution, and also affirmed the right of the state of Israel to exist.
The church also affirmed its commitment to fighting anti-Semitism in the United States.
The statement also condemned violence in the Middle East saying it stems from the unjust situation in the area.
‘We condemn the violence on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also believe that the roots of terrorism begin in the unjust and inequitable situation in Israel/Palestine’
UCC has followed the lead of the Presbyterian church who decided to divest from companies that is involved with the occupation and the construction of the West Bank wall.
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of justice ruled the wall illegal and called upon the world countries not to cooperate or contribute to its construction.
In 2000 the World Council of Churches (WCC), launched a campaign called, ‘decade to end violence,’ in which the council and all churches involved in will commit to work to end violence wherever it existed in the world.Ã‚Â UCC is part of the WCC and committed to the project to end violence, according to the statement.