What Companies Would Be Involved?
The list of companies sustaining the occupation is finite and manageable. United Methodist divestment proposals seek to change the behavior of only those firms (1) that have a presence on occupied land, (2) that are involved with the physical settlements, checkpoints and the separation wall or (3) that support activities of the Israeli military in the occupied territories.
Palestinian orchard destroyed to make way for a new settlement.
Photo by Christoph Goeck (EAPPI), Ecumenical Accompanier in the West Bank
These proposals would not target companies that provide strictly defensive products to Israel's military or those that engage in commerce within Israel's internationally recognized borders. United Methodists support a strong and vibrant Israeli economy. It is the occupation of Palestinian land and the expanding settlements on that land in violation of international law that many oppose.
The New England Conference of United Methodists has done extensive work to provide lists that can be used to avoid divestment in companies that support the occupation. Great care has been taken to do independent research and to provide all the sources used in compiling this list so their accuracy may be checked.
Twenty of these companies have been through a process of corporate engagement or correspondence with New England United Methodists. A list of these is at www.neumc.org/divest . Correspondence with other companies is ongoing.
Every effort has been made by these groups to check information before companies are added to the lists. Still, each company should be given the opportunity to clarify information about its relationship with the occupation before divestment takes place.
A search of public information on the holdings of the major United Methodist investment arm, the United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, shows the following companies of concern in the Board’s portfolio.
United Methodist General Board of Pension
and Health Benefits holdings in
Companies related to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land:
As of December 31, 2007
1. Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI) - Blockbuster has kiosks in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. This may sound innocuous, but they are important in creating a climate of permanence and normalcy in illegal communities established on occupied territory. The settlements have been identified as a key impediment to peace in the region. It is hoped that Blockbuster will voluntarily withdraw its presence in the settlements without divestment.
2. Caterpillar Corporation (NYSE:CAT) – Caterpillar supplies bulldozers and earth-moving equipment to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF uses these to destroy Palestinian homes, orchards and olive groves in the Occupied Territories. These are also used to clear Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, segregated roads and the “Separation Barrier.” Following years of “corporate engagement” by many faith- based groups, Caterpillar has announced plans to expand its involvement in the occupied territories by partnering with an Israeli company to develop unmanned bulldozers that can conduct demolitions without endangering a driver.
3. Cement Roadstone Holdings (NYSE: CRH) - CRH benefits from a monopoly on cement production within Israel through its 25% stake in the Israeli group Mashav Initiating and Development Ltd., which is the holding company for Nesher Cement. Nesher claims on its web site to be Israel’s sole producer of cement. Cement is being used in the construction of the Separation Wall inside the West Bank, which the International Court of Justice has ruled illegal. Cement is also used to build settlements on Palestinian land.
4. General Electric Corportion (NYSE:GE) – GE supplies the propulsion system for Israel's AH-64 Apache Assault Helicopter, which is 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.
5. ITT Corporation (NYSE:ITT) - ITT provides the Israeli Defense Forces 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.
6. Motorola (NYSE:MOT) - Motorola is engaged in a 400 million NIS ($93 million) project to provide radar systems for enhancing security at illegal West Bank settlements deep inside Palestinian territory. Motorola also 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 featuring vehicle-mounted antenna. This will enable military use in remote parts of the occupied territories.
7. Oshkosh Truck Company (NYSE:OSK) – Oshkosh, 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 Corp to build more than 900 armor kits for Israel’s Medium Tactical Vehicles.
8. Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX) –Terex 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 has 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. It also owns Terex Demag Cranes which are leased in Israel through Riwal, the major crane supplier for construction of Israel’s separation wall.
9. United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) – United Technologies 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. United Technologies Pratt and Whitney Division produces engines for Israel’s F-15 and F-16 aircraft, which are used against Palestinians. 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.
10. Veolia Environnement (NYSE:VE) – Veolia Environnement owns Connex. Connex is a central partner in a new $500 million light rail system designed to link Jerusalem to the illegal settlements of 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 consortium building the system, but its most direct benefit is through a lucrative contract it has been awarded to operate the system for the next 30 years.
Extensive documentation on companies in this section may be found through the New England Conference web site on divestment,www.neumc.org/divest, or more directly at http://neconference.brickriver.com/files/oFiles_Library_XZXLCZ/NEUMC_DivestmentReport_-FINAL_060407-img_PM2YX4SR.pdf
The work of the Task Force is ongoing. We are aware of several other companies which (1) have operations on occupied land, (2) provide tear gas to the Israeli army, which often uses it against Palestinians engaged in peaceful protest, (3) provide poisonous chemicals sprayed on Palestinian crops, often killing livestock and sickening farmers. We continue to correspond with companies before adding their names to this list.
Divestment Task Force
New England Conference of the United Methodist Church