The General Electric Company (GE) is U.S. corporation with an aviation division that manufactures engines for military and civilian aircraft.
General Electric engines are used in Israel’s primary air and naval military platforms, including T700-GE-700 engines in the UH-60 Black Hawk, T700-GE-701 engines for Boeing A-64 Apache helicopters, and the CH-53D/E engine in the CH-53 Heavy Lift helicopter. Additionally, a GE LM2500 gas turbine is used in Israel’s naval missile ship, the Sa’ar 5. GE also supplies Israel directly with various equipment and services through the Foreign Military Sales program contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense. Between 2008-2013, GE provided Israel with gas turbines, jet engines, support services, and other military accessories.
Israel has used Apache helicopters in ongoing attacks against civilians in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza, labeled by the international human rights community as human rights violations and at times war crimes. After the 2006 Lebanon war, Human Rights Watch found that Israeli forces had killed numerous civilians using missiles launched from Apache helicopters and failed to take the precautions to avoid casualties as required by international law. Apache helicopters were also used against civilians during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-9, in which 1398 Palestinian men and women were killed, including 345 minors. Amnesty International has documented that the Israeli Air Force targeted civilian homes, hospitals, and shops. According to the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, many of the attacks on Gaza during Cast Lead constituted violations of international human rights, possible war crimes, and crimes against humanity. According to the Israeli human rights organization B'tselem, 563 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks between the end of Cast Lead and April 2014, including 82 minors.
Apache helicopters were also used against Gazans in Operation Protective Edge (2014). According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 2192 Palestinians were killed during the 50 days of Protective Edge, including numerous whole families. More than 20,000 housing units were destroyed, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. Defense for Children International documented at least 13 children killed directly by missiles fired from Apache helicopters in its report on Protective Edge.
Sa’ar 5 missile ships were used by the Israeli Navy during the 2006 Lebanon war and Operation Cast Lead and are continuously used to enforce the illegal naval siege of the Gaza strip. The siege is considered by the International Committee of the Red Cross to be collective punishment, in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international law. According to UN OCHA, Israel limits Gaza fishermen to an area no wider than three to six miles off the coast, which severely limis their access to fishing. This is in contravention of the Oslo Agreements, which state that Gaza fishermen should have a clearance of 20 nautical miles off the coast. Even when within the three to six mile boundaries, Gaza fishermen risk being attacked by Israeli naval vessels, which have killed and injured several and/or resulted in damage to/confiscation of their boats. A Sa’ar ship also participated in the Israeli attack on the unarmed Free Gaza Flotilla in 2010, resulting in the killing of 10 humanitarian activists.
Economic Activism Highlights
- On April 12, 2016, the College Council of the University of Chicago passed a resolution to Divest University funds from apartheid, urging the university “ to withdraw, within the bounds of their fiduciary duty, investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Palestine, including, General Electric."
- On March 6, 2016, the Vassar Student Association voted to support the international BDS movement and to divest from companies profiting from Israeli human rights abuses, including General Electric.
- In November 2015, the University of California Santa Cruz student government reinstated a divestment resolution against GE that had originally passed in 2014, but was suspended pending an appeals process. The resolution calls on the university to drop its investments in any company that "profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestine."
- Students at UC Los Angeles passed a resolution to divest from General Electric in November 2014, stating General Electric “provide[s] weapons used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.”
- UC Riverside’s student council in 2014 passed a resolution to divest from GE, stating it “manufactures and supplies engines for A64 Apache Helicopters, systematically used in attacks on Palestinian civilians which constitutes severe human rights violations and war crimes.”
- Students at UC Santa Cruz in 2014 voted to divest, stating that GE “produces the T700GE701 engines of A64 Apache helicopters that are sold to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which are systematically used in attacks on Palestinian civilians.”
- Students at Loyola University in Chicago passed a 2014 divestment resolution that stated GE “manufactures engines used for the same helicopters that violate human rights violations by attacking Palestinian civilians.”
- The University of Michigan Dearborn student senate voted in 2014 to create an advisory committee to examine GE’s “explicit involve[ment] in the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine and human rights violations that have been committed by the Israeli army.”
- A victorious UC San Diego resolution in 2013 stated that General Electric “supplies the T700/CT7 engine propulsion system for the Apache AH-64 Helicopter Fleets which...have been used in attacks on the Palestinian population.”
- In November of 2012, the Associated Students at UC Irvine voted unanimously to divest from GE, stating that the company “manufactures and supplies engines for A64 Apache Helicopters used by the Israeli military in attacks on Palestinian civilians.”
- The University of Michigan Dearborn student government's divestment resolution passed in 2010, calling GE a “corporation that sell[s] weapons, goods, and services to Israel [and] in turn uses the weapons, goods, and services inhumanely.”
- Students at Cardiff University in Wales, in 2009, citing General Electric’s “supplying [of] military equipment to Israel,” participated in a three-day sit-in until university officials confirmed they had sold the school’s shares in GE.
- In 2009, the Board of Trustees at Hampshire College, following a two-year student-led campaign, approved divestment from GE due to “human rights concerns in occupied Palestine.”
- In 2005 and 2006, the University of Michigan at Dearborn passed resolutions urging divestment from GE, citing the company’s “support and benefit from the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation.”