Kyle Szarzynski 0

Peace and Justice for Palestine

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To: The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents We, a local coalition of concerned groups and individuals, including members of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and State of Wisconsin communities calls on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from companies doing business with or in the State of Israel until such time as the State of Israel accepts and facilitates the full implementation of the individual and collective human rights of the Palestinian people as those rights are enshrined in the instruments of international humanitarian law, especially United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for an immediate withdrawal of military forces from occupied territories. The ongoing occupation of the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip has garnered almost unanimous international condemnation. The humanitarian situation in the occupied territories includes widespread malnutrition, disease, unemployment, poverty and woefully inadequate medicine, education and other essential infrastructure. Arab residents in the occupied territories (22% of historical Palestine) are subjected to restrictions on travel, property destruction, expulsion, colonization, military violence and a grossly discriminatory legal system that holds little regard for Palestinian human rights as defined by international law. The resulting situation has created a system of Apartheid, a charge endorsed by such Nobel laureates as Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu. It is our opinion that the American people and its institutions have a unique responsibility in ending the injustice, since it is our government and taxpayer money that provides the principal and essential financial backing for the occupation. As concerned members of the community, we call on the Board of Regents to divest from any company that does business with or in the State of Israel. In particular, we draw attention to investments in Caterpillar Corporation, General Dynamics, Northrop-Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon and many other companies that profit from the most egregious violations of human rights in Palestine. Any investments associated with Israel subvert the implementation of norms of international humanitarian law and stand in glaring violation of Regent Policies 78-1 and 97-1 as well as the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 USC sec. 2304, which prohibits the providing of security assistance to any country whose government engages in violations of internationally recognized human rights. We also view divestment from Israel as consistent with similar actions taken regarding South Africa, Burma and Sudan. As concerned and conscientious members of the University community, we are part of a growing global movement for a principled and just peace in historical Palestine, one that includes equality for Jews and Arabs under the law, constitutional guarantees of minority rights, institutionalized toleration for cultural autonomy in well-defined spheres of life, the basic right of the citizen to live where he or she chooses and the right to take full part in democratic processes. We urge the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to recognize that divesting its holdings in companies that do business with the state of Israel is a moral imperative and an act that signifies a commitment to socially responsible investment, basic human rights, international law, and the principle that nothing should impede human freedom and democracy. Sincerely, The Undersigned

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