March 14, 2006
The Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem 14 March 2006
Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
20 Nablus Road
Dear Bishop Riah
I am writing to assure you of our continuing support, as a progressive Jewish oprganisation, for your call for the Anglican Church to divest from companies such as Caterpillar. Several members of the EJJP executive committee have recently returned from a visit to Israel and the West Bank. We saw first hand the consequences of the Israeli policy of not just house demolitions, but the uprooting of crops and the seizure of land for which Caterpillar machines are used.
We are writing now because much of the reaction to the decison of the General Synod has been ill considered and at times duplicitous. It has centred on the supposed changed situation following the success of Hamas in elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Yet all of this criticism has managed to avoid mentioning that the Occupation continues as before, that the building of the Separation Barrier continues as before and that, for Palestinians, little or nothing has changed.
If governments had chosen to act to implement international law, pressure from the Anglican Church and civil society groups and individuals would not be necessary. When they abrogate their responsibilities as they have done however, politicians cannot expect the rest of the world to stifle its concern for human life.
We trust you will feel free to refer to our support should you find it helpful in your efforts to bring the attention of the world to the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We are presently seeking a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury to urge him to respect the spirit and advice of the General Synod motion rather than that of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group.
for the Executive Committee of EJJP