You are on page 1of 8

AR 3

A Resolution Urging The University Of Texas Investment Management
Company (UTIMCO) To Divest From Corporations That Are Complicit In
And Facilitate The Continuing Occupation And Oppression Of The
Palestinian People By The State Of Israel.
Authors:

Mr. Mohammed Nabulsi (Representative, School of Law), Mr. Jauzey Imam
(Student, Palestine Solidarity Committee), Ms. Josephine Lawson (Student,
Palestine Solidarity Committee), Mr. Seth Uzman (Student, Palestine Solidarity
Committee), Mr. Firas Yousef Abdulla (Student, Society for Islamic Awareness),
Ms. Melissa Smyth (Graduate Student, Center for Middle Eastern Studies), Dr.
Snehal Shingavi (Professor, Center for Asian-American Studies), Mr. Patrick
Higgins (Graduate Student, Center for Middle Eastern Studies), Ms. Raneen
Abdelghani (Student, Muslim Student Association) Mr. Collin Poirot (Student,
Amnesty International), and Mr. Mukund Rathi (Student, International Socialist
Organization)

Sponsor:

Mr. James Che (Representative, School of Geosciences), Ms. Pamela Del Valle
(Representative, College of Natural Science), Ms. Katie Jensen (Representative,
Graduate School), and Mr. Ahmed Khawaja (Representative, Graduate School)

WHEREAS, The Student Government of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) is the official
voice of the student body; and,
WHEREAS, The University of Texas System’s (UTS) mission states that it “seeks to cultivate
in students the ethical and moral values that are the basis of a humane social order,”1; and,
WHEREAS, The University of Texas at Austin (UT) states with regards to social justice that its
mission is to “improve the human condition at local and global levels through programs that
advance equality and better conditions for those who may not have a voice,”2; and,
WHEREAS, Through the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue, UT aims to
“[advance] accountability, victim healing and community safety to repair the harm related to
conflict, crime and victimization,”3; and,
WHEREAS, Through the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue, UT seeks to
build a national mindset that embraces restorative justice principles,”4 and,
1

http://www.utsystem.edu/about/mission
http://www.utexas.edu/community-engagement/social-justice
3
Ibid.
4
http://www.utexas.edu/research/cswr/rji/index.html
2

WHEREAS, The former Chancellor of the UTS, Francisco Cigarroa, states that the UTS has
“been given the responsibility, by the public, of ensuring that [the] universities are at the very
center of the evolution of knowledge, articulating its parameters in a spirit of excellence and
integrity with the highest levels of ethics and compliance,”5; and,
WHEREAS, The occupation of Palestine, annexation of East Jerusalem, settlement of the West
Bank, and siege and blockade of Gaza are deemed illegal under international law by the United
Nations through UN Resolutions 252, 267, 271, 298, 446, 476, 478, 452, and 18606; and,
WHEREAS, UN Resolution 242 calls for ‘withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories
occupied’ after the 1967 Six-Day War;7 and
WHEREAS, The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, the largest dedicated
research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, declared the
Nation-State of Israel to be an apartheid state with an “institutionalized form of racism in which
states enact laws which function as the apparatus to commit inhuman acts for the purpose of
establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial
group of persons and systematically oppressing them”8; and,
WHEREAS, The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem--hereafter
referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories--are controlled through military force by the
Israeli government;9,10 and
WHEREAS, A conference of the parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the International
Committee of the Red Cross, have resolved that these territories are occupied and that the Fourth
Geneva Convention provisions regarding occupied territories apply;11,12 and
WHEREAS, According to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of
a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated regime are contrary to
international law”13 and
WHEREAS, According to the UN General Assembly’s application of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, the establishment and expansion of settlements “in Occupied East Jerusalem and the
rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially settlements activities [...] remain contrary to
international law and cannot be recognized, irrespective of the passage of time,”14 and
5

http://www.utsystem.edu/chancellor/vision
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/israelpalestine/
7
http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/7D35E1F729DF491C85256EE700686136
8
http://icahdusa.org/is-israel-an-apartheid-state/
9
http://www.ohchr.org/en/countries/menaregion/pages/psindex.aspx
10
See UN Resolutions 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980) and 484.
11
http://www.fmep.org/reports/archive/vol.-12/no.-1/conference-of-high-contracting-parties-to-the-fourth-genevaconvention-declaration
12
https://www.icrc.org/en/where-we-work/middle-east/israel-and-occupied-territories
13
http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6
14
http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/10emsp/a10emr03.htm
6

WHEREAS, A number of international law and human rights organizations as well as governing
bodies have condemned the building of settlements within the Occupied Territories of the Golan
Heights, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank as a breach of international law and
a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These organization include, but are not limited to,
the International Court of Justice15, the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth
Geneva Convention16, major organs of the UN17 (including the UN Human Rights Council18 and
the UN Security Council19), the European Union20, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination21, Amnesty International22, Human Rights Watch23, OXFAM24, and the High
Court of Justice in Israel (the Israeli Supreme Court)25; and
WHEREAS, The UN General Assembly and Security Council have confirmed the right of the
Palestinian people to self-determination, which includes their right to permanent sovereignty
over their natural resources26; and
WHEREAS, According to the UN General Assembly’s application of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, the exploitation of natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory is also
illegal by international law, and
WHEREAS, The illegality of the settlements within the Occupied Territories renders the
utilization of Palestinian natural resources by settlers as illegal,27 and
WHEREAS, International human rights law recognizes that Israel has four obligations regarding
Palestinian natural resources, including water, which are to protect, fulfill, respect and not to
utilize any of the resources as a political tool,28 and

15

Malcolm D Evans and Susan C Breau (2005). I. Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory: Advisory Opinion, 9 July 2004. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 54,
pp 1003-1013 doi:10.1093/iclq/lei049
16
Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention: Declaration, GENEVA, 5 December
2001
17
See UN General Assembly resolution 39/146, 14 December 1984; UN Security Council Resolution 446, 22 March
1979; and International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion, 9 July 2004, Legal Consequences of the Construction of
a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
18
http://www.ohchr.org/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/regularsession/session19/ffm/ffmsettlements.pdf
19
http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/palestine/pid/11884
20
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/eu-s-ashton-criticizes-israel-for-approval-of-illegal-settlementhomes-1.414327
21
See CERD/C/SR.1250, 9 March 1998
22
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/illegal-israeli-settlement-plans-threaten-palestinian-human-rights2010-10-15
23
http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/09/03/israel-reverse-illegal-plans-west-bank
24
http://www.oxfam.org/en/countries/occupied-palestinian-territory-and-israel/what-oxfams-position-israelpalestine-conflict
25
See http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/legal-expert-if-israel-isn-t-occupying-west-bank-it-mustgive-up-land-held-by-idf-1.449909
26
http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=1571
27
Ibid.
28
Ibid.

WHEREAS, Israel’s over-exploitation and pollution of groundwater, causing irreparable
damage to the Palestinian aquifers (which makes the groundwater a non-renewable resource),
and Israel’s illegal closures in the Gaza Strip, which impede essential construction materials for
the rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure from getting in, constitute a violation of
this duty,29 and
WHEREAS, The State of Israel conducts regular military campaigns, in the form of military
strikes, mass arrests, and house demolitions, which amount to collective punishment of the
populations of the West Bank and Gaza Strip30,31,32—a crime according to Article 33 of the
Fourth Geneva Convention: “No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not
personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of
terrorism are prohibited,”33 and
WHEREAS, The State of Israel’s most recent invasion of Gaza in July and August of 2014,
Operation Protective Edge, has left over 2000 dead, 521 of them children34 with over 11,000
injuries.35 Approximately 18,000 units were destroyed, displacing over half a million.36 Today,
over 100,000 Palestinians remain homeless.37 According to the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) following the operation, “twenty-six schools
have been completely destroyed and 122 damaged during the conflict” with “at least 11 higher
education facilities...affected.”38 OCHA also reports that “at least 17 out of 32 hospitals were
damaged and six closed down as a result (three remain closed). Out of 97 primary health centers
(PHC) monitored for damage and closures, 45 reported damage and 17 were closed.”39 Israel
deliberately targeted and crippled “Gaza's only power plant”40 as well as the region’s “vital water
and sewage systems,”41 and;
WHEREAS, With the events in the Summer of 2014, Human Rights Watch states that “Israel’s
military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli
teenagers have amounted to collective punishment”42 and
WHEREAS, The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to
arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” and that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”43 and
29

Ibid.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/033/2004
31
http://rt.com/news/166212-israel-teen-abduction-arrests/
32
http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/international-collective-punishment.html
33
https://www.icrc.org/ihl/WebART/380-600038
34
http://www.ochaopt.org/content.aspx?id=1010361
35
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/mira_summary_mak_8september2014_english.pdf
36
http://www.ochaopt.org/content.aspx?id=1010361
37
Ibid.
38
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/mira_summary_mak_8september2014_english.pdf
39
Ibid.
40
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13110-israel-bombs-gaza-power-plant
41
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-jets-destroying-gaza-water-and-sewerage-systems-284613778
42
http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/03/israel-serious-violations-west-bank-operations
43
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
30

WHEREAS, Defense for Children International-Palestine state that “Israel is the only state to
automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of
due process”44 and
WHEREAS, The Palestinian Civil Society has called upon the international community to
conduct campaigns of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to comply
with international law and Palestinian rights,45 and
WHEREAS, An international independent fact-finding mission established by the UN Human
Rights Council asserted, “Private companies must assess the human rights impact of their
activities and take all necessary steps--including by terminating their business interests in the
settlements--to ensure they are not adversely impacting the human rights of the Palestinian
People in conformity with international law as well as the Guiding Principles on Business and
Human Rights,”46 and
WHEREAS, Richard Falk, the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, has called on “civil society to
bolster efforts to hold businesses [profiting from Israeli settlements on the Occupied Territories]
accountable through legal and political initiatives at the national and international levels,”47 and
WHEREAS, Divestment from investments in companies profiting off Israel’s illegal occupation
of the West Bank as a tactic has been endorsed by a wide range of human rights advocates and
artists, including Desmond Tutu48 and Alice Walker49; and,
WHEREAS, In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Without the decades-long divestment campaign
undertaken by university students, churches, civil rights organizations, trade unions, and state
and local governments to cut economic ties to South Africa, the U.S. Congress would not have
[enacted economic sanctions on South Africa]. International sanctions were a key factor in the
eventual victory of [ending apartheid.]; and50
WHEREAS, Certain companies have been complicit in the atrocious human rights violations
systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human
rights organizations including Amnesty International51, Human Rights Watch52, Al-Haq53,

44

http://www.dci-palestine.org/documents/palestinian-children-israeli-military-custody-face-physical-violence
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=66
46
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/FFM/FFMSettlements.pdf
47
http://www.un.org/press/en/2012/gashc4048.doc.htm
48
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.610687
49
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1917
50
Hartman, Mitchell. "Nelson Mandela's Legacy Is Economic, Too." Marketplace.org. American Public Media, n.d.
Web. 29 Sept. 2014. <http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/nelson-mandelas-legacy-economic-too>
51
http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinianterritories
52
http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/israel-palestine
53
http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/settlements-and-settler-violence
45

Defense for Children International54, Addameer55, B’tselem56, Adalah57, Badil58, the Israeli
Coalition Against Home Demolitions59, and WhoProfits60, and
WHEREAS, UTS continues to hold securities in—and in thereby profits from—companies
which have an active role in the human rights abuse and institutionalized structural violence
perpetrated against the Palestinian people, consequently making it a complicit third-party, and
WHEREAS, These companies have been repeatedly asked to withdraw their interests and
participation in projects taking place in occupied territories and settlements to no avail, and
WHEREAS, Voluntary investment in a company shows implicit support for the decisions and
actions of said company, and
WHEREAS, Voluntary investment in companies engaged in violence against others is harmful
to students at UT who are affected by such violence, and
WHEREAS, The companies in which UTS holds securities in include, but are not limited to,
Alstom, Cemex, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, and United Technologies Corporation.
1. Alstom is one of two French multinational companies61 responsible for building the
Jerusalem Light Rail, which links illegal settlements in occupied Palestine territory with
Israel. Both companies continue to maintain and operate the Jerusalem Light Rail.62
2. Cemex is a building supplies and cement producing company. The company owns the
Israeli Readymix Industries, which has plants in the occupied West Bank, owns a quarry
for aggregates in the West Bank, and has provided concrete elements for construction of
infrastructure in the occupied West Bank.63 Cemex continues to extract non-renewable
natural resources from the occupied West Bank.64 Cemex also supplies building material
used in the construction of the wall inside the West Bank.65
3. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is a global provider of computer products. HP provides ongoing
support and maintenance to a biometric ID system installed in Israeli checkpoints in the
occupied West Bank, which deprive Palestinians of freedom of movement in their own
land and allow the Israeli military occupation to grant or deny special privileges to the
54

http://www.dci-palestine.org/
http://www.addameer.org/einside.php?id=45
56
http://www.btselem.org/about_btselem
57
http://www.adalah.org/uploads/oldfiles/Public/files/English/Publications/Annual%20Report/Annual-ReportAdalah-2012.pdf
58
http://www.badil.org/en/documents/category/56-annual-report
59
http://www.icahd.org/international-laws-and-house-demolition
60
http://www.whoprofits.org/reports
61
The other company involved is Veolia. Fortunately, UT does not have any investments in Veolia.
62
http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/jerusalem/;
63
http://whoprofits.org/company/cemex
64
http://www.npaid.org/News/2013/Cemex-excluded-from-Nordea-s-investment-portfolio-due-to-extraction-ofPalestinian-natural-resources; Note that Nordea, a financial services group in the Nordic and Baltic region, has
excluded Cemex from its investment portfolio due to the company’s extraction of non-renewable natural resources
from occupied Palestinian territory.
65
http://www.whoprofits.org/company/cemex
55

civilians under its control. HP also provides the Israeli military with other equipment and
services to help it maintain the illegal occupation.66 In a report to the General Assembly
on October 25, 2012, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called on the GA and civil
society to boycott a number of companies targeted by the We Divest Campaign,
including Hewlett-Packard, for their involvement in the establishment and maintenance
of the Israeli settlements and as such their violations of international human rights and
international humanitarian law.67
4. Procter and Gamble (P&G) is a leading global company serving 5 billion people in
more than 180 countries worldwide through its household products, ranging from diapers
to cleaners.68 Procter and Gamble is listed as a “major customer” in Avgol Nonwoven’s
first quarter report in 2012, purchasing up to 40% of Avgol products.69 Avgol Nonwoven
is an Israeli Company with a factory in the Barkan Industrial Zone, the second largest
industrial zone in the West Bank as a part of the Ariel Bloc, an illegal settlement.70 Ariel
Bloc cuts off the southern Palestinian town of Salfit from seven villages to the north. This
illegal settlement prevents Palestinian landowners access to their property, contaminates
the water in Salfit, and blocks villager access to the district seat of Salfit.71
5. United Technologies (UTC) is an American, diversified company that provides hightech products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building systems
industries. It is one of the top-10 defense companies in the world, with 21% of its
revenues in 2013 derived from military sales. The company’s aviation subsidiary, Pratt
and Whitney, produces the F-100 engine series that are used in Israel’s F-15 and F-16
fighter aircraft, and another of its engines powers Israel’s future attack aircraft, the F-35.
Sikorsky, UTC’s helicopter subsidiary, produces CH-53 Sea Stallion and UH-60
Blackhawk helicopters, which are the primary helicopters used in combat by the Israeli
Air Force. F-16 jets, in particular, have been used against Palestinian civilians in air
strikes over densely populated areas in violation of international law;72 and
WHEREAS, Student governments across the United States have called for divestment from
companies that contribute to the Israeli occupation, including seven out of nine undergraduate
campuses within the University of California system73, Stanford74 and Northwestern75, and;
WHEREAS, The 2010-2011 UT Student Government Assembly unanimously passed AR 3 in
support of the revision of UTIMCO’s investment policies to include consideration of social
responsibility; and,

66

https://wedivest.org/c/57/hp#.U-ptk_ldWSp
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43376#.U-ps5PldWSp
68
http://www.pg.com/en_US/company/purpose_people/pvp.shtml
69
http://www.avgol.com/upload/pdf/Avgol%20press%20release%20results%20of%20Q1%202012%20ENG.pdf,
70
http://corporateoccupation.org/working-for-shamir-salads-in-barkan-industrial-zone/
71
http://www.btselem.org/settlements/20100830_facts_on_the_settlement_of_ariel
72
http://www.afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/Information%20on%20divestments.pdf
73
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/uc-davis-passes-divestment-resolution-five-othercampaigns-launched
74
http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/stanford-divestment-landslide
75
http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.643256
67

WHEREAS, The UT Student Government Assembly passed AR 24 last session (and in 20082009) calling for divestment from companies that facilitate genocide in Sudan and for UTIMCO
to cease holding equity in all companies implicated in genocide;76 and,
WHEREAS, UT’s student body has a rich history of opposing oppression, including South
African apartheid77; and,
WHEREAS, The Daily Texan editorial board argued that allowing UT to facilitate human rights
abuses by investing in such companies was “completely unacceptable”78; and therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, That the Student Government calls upon UTS and UTIMCO to appoint an
ad hoc committee to investigate all companies (some of which have been listed in this resolution)
for their complicity and facilitation of the state of Israel’s violation of international law in the
form of settlement building, occupation, and military campaigns; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Student Government urges UTIMCO to divest, as soon as
such divestment may be accomplished without injury to UT assets and investment strategies,
from all such companies, which within one year from the date of engagement remain
uncommitted to a diligent plan for terminating any business activities that violate international
law or Palestinian rights; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be sent to the Board of Regents
of the University of Texas System, the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors of the
University of Texas Investment Management Corporation, the Office of Chancellor of the
University of Texas System, the Office of the President of the University of Texas at Austin, and
The Daily Texan.

76

http://utsg.org/branches/legislative/assembly/legislation/
http://www.utwatch.org/timeline.html
78
http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2014/10/30/ut-system-should-divest-from-companies-that-support-genocide-insudan
77