Call For Divestment in Support of Palestine

In July of 2005, Palestinian civil society organizations initiated a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as a tactic in the global movement to pressure Israel to end its continued violation of international law and the rights of Palestinians to freedom, equality and self-determination. The call urges all people of conscience throughout the world to enact various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Separation Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

In solidarity with this non-violent resistance strategy, Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine has launched Oberlin Divest, a campaign urging Oberlin College to divest from the illegal occupation of Palestine. Divestment campaigns have been successful at Oberlin in the past, as exhibited by the College’s divestment from South Africa and Sudan. We realize that divestment from all companies materially supporting the illegal military occupation of Palestine is impractical, so we are focusing on six companies which effectively represent different aspects of the Israeli government’s oppression of the Palestinian people. The six companies are:

1. SodaStream: SodaStream’s main plant operates in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank, and thus enjoys special benefits awarded to settlement businesses including lax regulation and low taxes. As a settlement operation, it pays taxes to the Israeli government and to the local settlement municipality rather than to any Palestinian authority, thereby exploiting the local resources of land, water and labor while strengthening the illegal settlements. It also uses the marketing method of “greenwashing,” or selling ethically dubious products by touting them as environmentally friendly.

2. Caterpillar: Caterpillar provides engineering tools and bulldozers that destroy Palestinian homes, neighborhoods in refugee camps, water cisterns and agricultural fields, as well as construct illegal settlements, the Separation Wall and checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

3. Hewlett-Packard Company: HP has restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians and reinforced a stratification of citizenship by providing biometric identification systems used at Israeli military checkpoints.

4. Group 4 Securicor: G4S provides security equipment for Israeli prisons that hold Palestinian political prisoners and for Israeli military checkpoints. G4S also provides security services to businesses in the illegal settlements.

5. Elbit: Elbit provides Long- Range Reconnaissance and Observation Systems for the Separation Wall, which runs through occupied Palestinian land. This wall annexes a significant portion of the West Bank to Israel and restricts access to water supplies and other vital resources for Palestinians. In addition, the Israeli military has used Elbit’s Unmanned Air Systems, more commonly known as drones, for surveillance and combat actions over the past decade which have resulted in civilian casualties.

6. Veolia: Veolia Transdev operates three bus lines and a light rail system that connect illegal Israeli settlements to Israel. Veolia Environmental Services Israel maintains the Tolvan landfill for illegal settlement waste on confiscated Palestinian land. Veolia Water-Israel operates a waste-water plant in the illegal settlement of Modiin Ilit.

We are asking Oberlin College students, alumni, faculty, staff and Oberlin community members to sign a petition in support of the resolution calling for divestment from these companies and no further investments in any companies materially supporting or profiting from Israel’s occupation in the ways outlined in the divestment resolution. This petition will serve as a public statement of support for the application of human rights and international law to a Palestinian context. We hope to reinforce this statement of support with a resolution at the Student Senate level.

We welcome collaboration with all interested individuals and organizations and encourage anyone with questions to contact us via email or talk with us in person at our weekly information table at Mudd Library on Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m.

The full text of the resolution and the petition are available at More information can be found at

Contact SFP at [email protected]

— Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine