Hampshire College Institutional Divestment from the Occupation of Palestine
After WWII, when it became apparent that the world had stood silent and complicit in the face of the atrocities of the Holocaust, the U.N. voted for the establishment of a Jewish state. The U.S. and Britain refused to absorb most of the European Jewish refugees into their own countries, and therefore advocated for Jewish immigration to, and eventually the establishment of, a Jewish state in Palestine.
When Israel declared itself a state in 1948 with U.N. approval, Zionist militia forced 750,000 Palestinians to flee from their homes within what is now considered the modern-day borders of Israel, resulting in a huge refugee crisis. Immediately afterwards the UN instructed its Conciliation Commission to “facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.” By 1950, 418 Arab villages were completely depopulated and/or destroyed and the number of refugees reached 914,000.
These refugees were forced into camps in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan or relocated to the West Bank and Gaza, which is only approximately 30% of the original homeland of these people.
During the war of 1967 Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. 350,000 more Palestinians were expelled from their homes, causing a new wave of refugees.
The West Bank and Gaza have since then been under Israel's military rule, in what has been deemed illegal and illegitimate by various U.N. resolutions, such as 242, 672, 673 and 681 that call for an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and reaffirm the Palestinian refugees' right of return. In 1974, the General Assembly of the UN reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty. However, Israel has ignored these rulings and has instead implemented apartheid policies: ethnic cleansing, the building of illegal settlements; annexation of Palestinian territory, military checkpoints and roads for Jews only; violation of Palestinian freedom of movement, and separate judicial systems for Israelis and Palestinians and the imprisonment of tens of thousands, many held with no trial.
It is this attack on the Palestinian people and their rights that led to the outbreak of the first Intifada (uprising) in 1987. This was a largely peaceful resistance movement that was completely suppressed militarily. This generated the more violent uprising of the second Intifada in 2000. Today, these policies of apartheid have peaked with the construction of the Wall and the siege of The Gaza Strip, creating a horrifying humanitarian crisis.
• As an institution Hampshire College will not support, invest, or finance any individual, group or institution that directly profits from the occupation of Palestine. We call on other colleges and universities to enact similar policies.
• Hampshire College calls on the United States Government to stop financing Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
In addition to economic measures, Hampshire College as an institution and a community hereby expresses its commitment to support the autonomy and self-determination of the Palestinian people, including but not limited to the following:
• We support dialogue on our campus about the conflict as long as it is sincere and serious about its intentions to end the oppression of the Palestinian people.
• Due to our mandate as an institution of higher education, we are committed to support the Palestinian right to education, through exchange programs and academic support
• In solidarity with the Palestinian people, our educational program will provide a stage for unheard Palestinian voices.
Hampshire College, in accordance with its moral imperatives, will persist in this course of action until the end of the occupation as defined by UN resolutions.
Due to numerous questions over the nature of divestment in the first section of the affirmative statement, SJP has added the following addendum to clarify what is meant by divestment.
Investments should not be made in any company that provides products or services, including financial services, to Israeli governmental or military bodies that are used to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law, or to Israeli or Palestinian organizations or groups that are used to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law.
For the purposes of this investment screen this would include companies that:
1. Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
2. Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
3. Establish facilities or operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories;
4. Provide products or services that contribute to the maintenance and construction of the Separation Wall;
5. Provide products or services that contribute to violent acts that target either Israeli or Palestinian civilians.