Divestment Task Force (2010)

Report and Recommendations
updated May 2010
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 wpaldrich@cox.net.
 
__________________
 
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