Associated Students of PSU (ASPSU) Overwhelmingly Demand Divestment

The following is the text of the resolution adopted overwhelmingly on Oct. 24, 2016, by the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) calling on the university to divest from Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions due to their complicity in human rights violations in Israel/Palestine.

AUTHOR (S): Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights
TITLE OF RESOLUTION: Resolution to recommend divestment from companies involved in
Israeli military occupation
SPONSOR(S) OF RESOLUTION: ASPSU International Affairs Committee
DATE OF FINAL VOTE: Oct. 24, 2016
FINAL VOTE COUNT: 22 in favor, 2 opposed, 1 abstention


1.01 WHEREAS, the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU), as part of a
diverse academic institution, is deeply committed to standards of ethics, justice, equality and
human rights for all as clearly defined in the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human
1.02 WHEREAS, ASPSU is concerned about violations of human rights anywhere and the protection of civilian lives and property in our nation and in the global community;
1.03 WHEREAS, precedence set by the international student movement in solidarity with anti-Apartheid organizers in South Africa advocated for the divestment of companies who profited from Apartheid, and through their support contributed to the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa and the creation of a coalition government to ensure the equal rights of the Indigenous population;
1.04 WHEREAS, Black and Indigenous activists have spoken in support for Palestinian equal rights, connecting the struggles of Palestinians to the struggle against racial and ethnic oppression in the United States and elsewhere, including former political prisoner and President of South Africa Nelson Mandela;
1.05 WHEREAS, Portland State University in 2015 adopted a socially responsible investment screen, in which the Endowment pursues investments that fit within the criteria of Environment, Social and Governance;
1.06 WHEREAS, ASPSU has precedence for divestment from companies expressing unethical business practices with our previous divestment from fossil fuels;
1.07 WHEREAS, Caterpillar Inc. sells specially manufactured bulldozers (D9 bulldozers) to the Israeli military. These bulldozers are directly sold to the Israeli military as part of the U.S. military aid to Israel. They are equipped with armor and weapons by Caterpillar Israel, the company’s sole representative in Israel. These military D9 bulldozers are used as weapons of urban warfare by specific army D9 units to demolish Palestinian homes, entire villages, city neighborhoods and agricultural land. One of these armored bulldozers was responsible for crushing to death Evergreen University student Rachel Corrie in 2003, while she stood in front of a Palestinian home to prevent its demolition;
1.08 WHEREAS, G4S plc, the world’s largest private security firm, through its subsidiary G4S Israel (Hashmira), provides security systems and services to all branches of the Israeli government, including to the Israeli Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Israeli armored corps base of Nachshonim, and to several prisons housing Palestinian prisoners who are being held without charge under “Administrative Detention”. The company also provides security systems for the Kishon (“Al Jalameh”) and Jerusalem (“Russian Compound”) detention and interrogation facilities. Human rights organizations have collected evidence showing that Palestinian prisoners are regularly subjected to torture in these facilities. G4S Israel has also provided Israeli illegal and unethical military checkpoints with security equipment, as well as provided guards to businesses in Israeli government authorized settlements, constructed in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in the West Bank. Although the company stated in 2014 that it would not renew some of its contracts, as of today, no change in company operations has been registered on the ground;
1.09 WHEREAS, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise were contracted (when still a single company) to maintain a biometric identification and scanning systems that is used by the Israeli military. Both companies are contracted with the Israeli military to maintain and support the ‘Basel System’ of biometric scanning that is installed at checkpoints throughout the Palestinian Territories. These checkpoints restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement, including preventing them from working, going to school or seeing family members. Furthermore, HP Inc. is the sole supplier to the Israeli military of computer servers and laptops, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise manages the Israeli population registrar, a system that differentiates between citizens based on religion and ethnicity, thus enabling systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel;
1.10 WHEREAS, Motorola Solutions is profiting from the Israeli military occupation through providing communication systems to the Israeli military. In addition, the company provides electronic surveillance systems and radar fences to the illegal and unethical settlements, designed to make vast areas of the West Bank inaccessible to Palestinians even when they are the legal owners of the land;
1.11 WHEREAS, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has been entrenched since 1948. During the 1948 Palestine War over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled and forced to leave their homes due to military advances in what has been called the Nakba. Many Palestinians to this day live as refugees in a diaspora and are not allowed the right of return to Palestine. 1948 was also the year of the Deir Yassin massacre in which over 100 Palestinians – men, women and children, in a small village of 600 people were killed by paramilitary forces. Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians are subjected to repeated violations of human rights as defined by the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, numerous articles of the Geneva Convention, and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Violations of rights include: loss of land due to the construction of large Israeli government authorized settlements, segregated roads for settlers, confiscation of valued agricultural and grazing lands, systematic displacement of the population into small, non contiguous geographic enclaves separated by barriers and checkpoints; gross inequality in the amount of water allocated to Palestinians, theft of the land’s natural resources by the occupier; severe and arbitrary travel restrictions; limited access to holy sites; segregated roads; demolition of Palestinian homes; destruction of crops, including the burning of olive trees, by settlers and the Israeli army; and arbitrary arrest, mistreatment when in custody, and imprisonment without due process of Palestinians, including children;
1.12 WHEREAS, the Palestinian population of Gaza is subject to particularly harsh violations of human rights through repeated military attacks using disproportionate force. Israeli military incursions occur on a regular basis. Every few years, these incursions are escalated and are intense and overwhelming to the Gaza civilian population as well as to all emergency and safety services. Israel’s military has caused the death of thousands of civilians (in 2014, for example over 2000 Gazans were killed by Israeli forces, including over 500 children). The Israeli government’s siege on Gaza restricts movement and prevents the entry of products essential to Gazans’ well being,causing major shortages in essential goods. The siege also includes strict control of electronic communications, as well as Israeli military control of air and sea space around Gaza;
1.13 WHEREAS, the Israeli government has annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem denying building permits to Palestinians, as well as revoking the residency rights of many of Jerusalem’s Palestinian citizens;

2.1 BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) calls on Portland State University to divest any current and future holdings in the following companies and any other company that has been found to profit from human rights violations against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government , including but not limited to : Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and G4S plc.;
2.2 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Associated Students of Portland State University ASPSU calls on the University to put in place an internal investment screen which prohibits investment in any company that provides weapons or equipment used for violent acts that target either Israeli or Palestinian civilians; provides equipment used for the displacement of Palestinians from their homes or the construction and maintenance of illegal and unethical Israeli government authorized settlements; or supplies equipment used for the construction or maintenance of the Separation Wall in the West Bank and Jerusalem.