Kairos Palestine to 220th GA

To the Commissioners of the 220th General Assembly
of the Presbyterian Church (USA):

On behalf of the Kairos Palestine group, I write to wish you a positive and successful General Assembly. I also write to express our concern that the Church has come under pressure to invest in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and in Israel -- instead of divesting from American companies that profit from, and are therefore complicit in, the illegal Israeli occupation and its systematic violations of international law. Kairos Palestine strongly believes that any investment in the oPt must be carried out in conjunction with divestment from the occupation itself.

In addition to imprisoning Palestinians behind walls and checkpoints, confining them in Bantustans, and violating their human rights, the Israeli occupation has effectively destroyed the Palestinian economy. Investment projects are merely a band-aid on a gaping wound. There is no such thing as “positive investment” under occupation, because nothing positive is produced by occupation to begin with.

In other words, investment under occupation means sustaining the occupation itself -- and it means sustaining the oppressors rather than the oppressed. According to its true definition, “positive investment” must be ethical investment: investments are neither ethical nor positive if they do not coincide with work to change the situation at its core, to end the occupation altogether.

Indeed, as the World Bank reports, “sustainable economic recovery will remain elusive if large areas of the West Bank remain inaccessible for economic purposes and restricted movement remains the norm for the vast majority of Palestinians and expatriate Palestinian investors.” This conclusion holds true even with the investment projects already attempted: the Israeli army rejects many such projects before commencement and has destroyed others upon completion.

Kairos Palestine expresses its support for divestment as a nonviolent, ethically consistent, solidarity-promoting tool towards peace with justice for all people: both Palestinians and Israelis. And we urge the PC(USA) to be courageous, to not be swayed by erroneous claims that positive investment will do anything to fundamentally alter the situation as it stands. In short, we urge you to support divestment as the most equitable way to eliminate complicity with an illegal occupation and to genuinely foster justice in both theory and practice.

With sincere thanks, and in hopes of true change,

Rifat Odeh Kassis
General Coordinator
Kairos Palestine