The Church of England should follow the recommendation of the Anglican Consultative Council and vote to divest from companies supporting Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine during its General Synod this weekend, campaigners will say at a fringe meeting at York University on Friday (8 July).
The Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group has been examining whether the £2 million of shares currently held in Caterpillar are consistent with the Church’s ethical investment policy, which prohibits investment in arms companies or companies making ‘weapons platforms’ such as naval vessels or tanks. Caterpillar has been singled out by the United Nations for complicity in human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As detailed in War on Want’s recent ‘alternative report’ on Caterpillar, thousands of Palestinian homes and vast swathes of agricultural land have been destroyed by the Israeli military using armoured Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. Caterpillar bulldozers have also been used in the construction of Israel’s Separation Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice one year ago, in July 2004. War on Want campaigners will urge the Anglican Communion to follow the example of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which decided last year to implement a process of divestment from companies, such as Caterpillar, which benefit from Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. They were joined by the United Methodist Church on 11 June this year. Nick Dearden, Campaigns Officer at War on Want, said: “Israel continues to defy international law with its actions in Palestine, and each new day of the occupation sees more Palestinians condemned to poverty and despair. We call on the Church of England to follow last week’s decision by the Anglican Consultative Council and vote now to divest from companies supporting the military occupation of Palestine. Actions not words are needed if we wish to see justice for the Palestinian people.”
1) The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) unanimously passed a resolution on 22 June 2005 commending its member churches to consider divestment from companies supporting the occupation of Palestine; see www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/articles/39/75/acns3996.cfm 2) War on Want is holding a fringe meeting at the Church of England’s 2005 General Synod in York, at 6.45pm on Friday 8 July 2005, to discuss the Church’s response to last week’s ACC resolution. The fringe will take place in Goodricke College Room 20 (G/020), University of York. For details of the fringe call Joe Zacune on 0781 3526980. 3) For more details or further comment, contact War on Want campaigns officer Nick Dearden on 07932 335464 or John Hilary, Director of Campaigns and Policy, on 07879 641848.