Legislation

ASB Senate Resolution 09-08
| To reach the Senate floor on Monday, March 30th, 2008 | 

 


Senator Dan Blazo
External Affairs Committee (sponsorship pending)

 RESOLUTION IN RECOGNITION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS PERTAINING TO FINANCIAL INVESTMENT; RESOLVING TO MODIFY THE INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO HELD BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI—IN ACCORDANCE TO THE NORMATIVE AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF INVESTING IN WEAPONRY MANUFACTURERS THAT SELL ARMS TO MILITARY GROUPS ENGAGED IN PERSISTENT VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS—BY DIVESTING UNIVERSITY FUNDS FROM THOSE COMPANIES AND CORPORATIONS THAT CURRENTLY PROVIDE ARMS FOR THE ISRAELI MILITARY AND REFUSING TO INVEST IN ANY CORPORATION THAT ASSISTS THE MILITARY OPERATIONS OF HAMAS 




WHEREAS the Ole Miss Creed declares: “I believe in respect for the dignity of each person; I believe in fairness and civility; I believe in personal and professional integrity;…I believe in good stewardship of our resources; I pledge to uphold these values and encourage others to follow my example,” it is the responsibility of all members of the community comprising Ole Miss to abstain from supporting corporations actively purporting the forces of what principals in the international community, as well as many Ole Miss students, interpret to be: unwarranted violations against  the international community, unlawful assailments  effecting heavy civilian casualties, and forcible seizures of land inhabited by indigenous populations;

WHEREAS an education from the University of Mississippi ought to embrace its acclaimed virtues of peace, fairness, and civility, both in theory and practice, thus compelling divestment from university holdings in corporations that unambiguously violate the principles of students who sincerely oppose the breaches of international law exercised by both the Israeli military and Hamas (a.k.a. the “Islamic Resistance Movement”), as such divestments are absolutely imperative for the fulfillment of the students’ respectful wishes to abstain from participation in a public institution that funds those military operations for which they stand in staunch opposition;

WHEREAS we are committed to ensuring that our university’s finances are allocated in a manner consistent with our principles, with international law, and with regard to the well-being of all peoples;

WHEREAS there is irrefutable evidence that several companies in which the University of Mississippi is invested currently provide material aid to the Israeli military in the form of weapons, equipment, and complementary mechanisms used to perpetrate human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians, and the perpetuation of financial investment in these companies facilitates military practices that violate international humanitarian law;

WHEREAS American principles, values, and traditions emphasize the right of the individual to basic freedoms without regard to ethnic origin or religious affiliation and support the protection and extension of these freedoms to all peoples around the globe, and where the systematic denial of these freedoms prompted more than one hundred American universities to affirm their commitment to socially responsible investment by divesting their holdings in apartheid era South Africa;

WHEREAS an abundance of independent human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, and Al-Haq; the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and numerous NGOs have documented serious and widespread violations of international laws regarding the human rights of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces operating in the West Bank and Gaza;

WHEREAS a number of American and Israeli Jewish peace groups, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and many other religious leaders have called for selective divestment from Israel as a means of ending settlement expansion and ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands;

WHEREAS the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 USC sec. 2304, provides that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;”

WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel’s “separation wall” violates international law and the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians;

WHEREAS the Israeli government persistently violates Article 2, paragraph 4 of the 1945 UN Charter, which states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”;

WHEREAS the Geneva Conventions Protocol I of 1977 specifically states in Article 85 that non-combatants must be allowed to return to their homes following the end of fighting, and that disallowing this is a war crime;

WHEREAS the Israeli government persistently violates Article 55 of the UN Hague Regulations IV of 1907, which states: “The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct”;

WHEREAS the Israeli government effectually disregards the authority of the Geneva Convention IV of 1949, which declares: “Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory” (Article 47), and: “The Occupying Power may not alter the status of public officials or judges in the occupied territories, or in any way apply sanctions to or take any measures of coercion or discrimination against them, should they abstain from fulfilling their functions for reasons of conscience” (Article 54);

WHEREAS the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids an occupying power from moving its own people into the occupied territory, yet there are currently more than 400,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, with thousands of new settler housing units being planned and constructed;

WHEREAS Palestinian land is still being confiscated for these settlements and for construction of the “Separation Wall” deep inside the Palestinian territories;

WHEREAS Hamas willfully violates the Geneva Convention Protocol I of 1977, which states in Article 51(2): “The civilian populations as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack.  Acts or threats of violence, the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited”;

WHEREAS Hamas flagrantly defies Article 58 of the Geneva Convention Protocol I, which declares “The Parties to the Conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible: … (b) avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas;” by using schools, private homes, hospitals, and mosques as illegal “human shields,” or tactical locations for its industry of weapon smuggling, weapon development, hiding and storage of rockets, explosives, and ammunition, as well as the illicit harboring of combatants;

WHEREAS Hamas has been observed training young children to engage in combat operations and engage in military exercises, thereby violating Article 77(2) of the Geneva Convention Protocol I, which states: “The Parties to the conflict shall take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in the hostilities”;

WHEREAS Boeing produces the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter, used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians. Some of the other Boeing weapons in Israel’s arsenal include other helicopters, fighter planes, and missiles. Israel owns 98 Boeing F-15 Eagle jets, each costing $38 million;

WHEREAS Caterpillar continues to sell armored bulldozers—used to demolish Palestinian homes and uproot olive trees—to the Israeli military;

WHEREAS General Dynamics manufactures the 20mm guns for Israel’s F-16 jets and has supplied Israel with approximately one thousand M60A3 Main Battle Tanks;

WHEREAS General Electric manufactures and sells the engines for Apache Helicopters sold to the Israeli military;

WHEREAS Lockheed Martin manufactures the Patriot Missile and the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet, the latter of which Israel military possesses 237, each costing $34.3 million;

WHEREAS Northrop Grumman manufactures and sells radar and weapons systems of diverse specifications and functions for the Israeli military;

WHEREAS Oshkosh Truck Corporation produces tactical military trucks for the Israeli military;

WHEREAS Raytheon produces a number of missiles used by the Israel military against the Palestinians, including the AGM 65 Maverick, Patriot, and AIM 9 Sidewinder;

WHEREAS United Technologies, through a subsidiary—Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, produces the Blackhawk Helicopter and the CH-53D Sea Stallion Helicopter, and Sikorsky President Dean Borgman declared in a February 1, 2001 press release: “Our company’s relationship of more than 40 years with Israel is a source of pride,” while announcing that his firm was awarded a $211.8 million contract with the Israeli Air Force;

WHEREAS although the University of Mississippi is not currently invested in any corporation that intentionally supplies arms to Hamas, this resolution calls for the ongoing repudiation of University investments in any such corporations;

WHEREAS, insofar as the effort to divest from these companies has as its foundation a commitment to international law and the fundamental rights that belong to every human being, it lays the groundwork for a just and enduring peace and is therefore an expression of the hope for a free and secure future for every Israeli and Palestinian currently suffering under the burden of conflict;




THEREFORE, LET IT BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODY SENATE CALLS UPON THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI SYSTEM TO DIVEST FROM BOEING, CATERPILLAR, GENERAL DYNAMICS, GENERAL ELECTRIC, LOCKHEED MARTIN, NORTHROP-GRUMMAN, OSHKOSH TRUCK CORPORATION, UNITED TECHNOLOGIES, AND RAYTHEON BASED ON EVIDENCE OF THE ACTIVE ROLE OF THESE COMPANIES IN ENABLING ISRAELI FORCES TO ENGAGE IN PRACTICES THAT VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, AND TO ABSTAIN FROM REINVESTING IN THESE COMPANIES—AS WELL AS ALL COMPANIES AND CORPORATIONS AFFILIATED WITH THE MILITARY OPERATIONS OF HAMAS—FOR THE DURATION OF THEIR PARTICIPATION IN VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODY SENATE URGES ALL UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI GOVERNING BODIES AND AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS AND UNIONS TO ADOPT SIMILAR RESOLUTIONS AIMED AT ENSURING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT POLICIES AND BY EXTENSION UPHOLDING INTERNATIONAL LAW AND SAFEGUARDING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL PEOPLES.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THIS RESOLUTION BE TRANSMITTED TO UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR ROBERT C. KHAYAT,  VICE CHANCELLOR FOR ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE LARRY SPARKS, BUDGET DIRECTOR PAMELA ROY, DEAN OF STUDENTS SPARKY REARDON, ASSISTANT DEAN OF STUDENTS MELINDA PULLEN CARLSON, INTERIM PROVOST AND VICE CHANCELLOR FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS MORRIS H. STOCKS , VICE CHANCELLOR FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS LARRY D. RIDGEWAY, FACULTY SENATE, GRADUATE STUDENT COUNCIL, OFFICE OF THE PROVOST, OFFICE OF THE BUDGET, AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI.

 

Sources: The World Policy Institute’s Arms Trade Resource Center, Seattle’s Palestine Information Project, Coalition for Social Responsibility at Michigan State University, 2008 Financial Statement for the University of Mississippi, Geneva Conventions I-IV, Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Journal of Palestine Studies Summer 2008, Vol. 37, No. 4, “Responding to Hamas Attacks from Gaza–Issues of Proportionality,” March 2008, the Ole Miss Creed, The Middle East Media Research Institute

 

 

Resolution 09-05

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