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ACTION ALERT: Tell Caterpillar & Washington: No More Militarize Bulldozers for Israel


October 30, 2010
Jewish Voice for Peace

The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers -- valued at $50 million -- to the Israeli military. These weaponized bulldozers are used to illegally destroy homes of Palestinian families. One of these bulldozers killed Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old US peace activist. With a trial over Corrie's death now in progress, Caterpillar has suspended sales.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5076

ACTION ALERT: Caterpillar Has Stopped Selling Bulldozers to Israel... for Now
Sydney Levy / Jewish Voice for Peace

(October 29, 2010) -- I have remarkable news. The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers -- valued at $50 million -- to the Israeli military. (1)

These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families. And they are the very same bulldozers as the one that killed a 23-year-old American peace activist named Rachel Corrie seven years ago when she tried to protect the home of the Nasrallah family in Gaza.

That's why the next part of the story is even more amazing. The news reports say that the deliveries have been suspended now because Rachel's parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, are bringing a civil suit against the government of Israel in a court in Tel Aviv. (2)

The deliveries are to stop during the length of the trial. We take this as an indirect admission by the company that these bulldozers are being used to violate human rights and to violate the law. The Corrie story is sadly just one of thousands of stories of loss and pain.

A suspension of the sale of bulldozers is what we have been asking Caterpillar for over seven years now. This is a great win, but this is no time to let off the pressure.

Caterpillar and the US government have neither confirmed nor denied the news. And news reports describe the company's move as a temporary decision only. To urge the US government to make this policy permanent, please sign the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's petition to President Obama to continue this new policy.

We need to hold both our government and corporations profiting from the occupation accountable. TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the United States, invests heavily in Caterpillar (over $250 million as of their last financial report).

Please ask TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. If TIAA-CREF divests from Caterpillar, it will have a rippling impact everywhere.

Since 2003, Jewish Voice for Peace has been filing annual shareholder resolutions to pressure Caterpillar with a growing coalition of interfaith partners. We've organized protests. We've taken over a CAT dealership. We've worked in support of Presbyterian and Methodist divestment initiatives from the company, and with your help, we are asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar as well.

Caterpillar has never budged... until now.

Caterpillar's irresponsible behavior comes with a heavy price tag. In the last ten years, at least 11,795 homes have been demolished. (3) These statistics, gruesome as they are, cannot do justice to the pain of so many families, to their razed livelihoods and their shattered dreams.

The picture above does not come from an earthquake scene. It depicts the man-made destruction and the hopelessness that the Caterpillar bulldozers bring at the hand of the soldiers who wield them. Let's make sure that this is the last picture of this kind we get to see.

Thank you and shabbat shalom,
Sydney Levy / Jewish Voice for Peace

THE LETTER
Dear President Obama,

On October 25, Israel's Channel 2 news program reported that Caterpillar is delaying the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers -- valued at $50 million -- to the Israeli military. Neither Caterpillar nor the US government has denied the report.

I strongly urge you to continue this suspension of US military aid. No deliveries of Caterpillar equipment to the Israeli military should take place at least until your Administration investigates Israel's killing of US citizen Rachel Corrie with a Caterpillar bulldozer, investigates Israel's possible violations of US laws with Caterpillar equipment, takes appropriate steps to correct any Israeli violations of these laws, and puts in place verifiable mechanisms to ensure that Israel follows all relevant US laws in the future.

Israel utilizes these bulldozers -- in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act -- to commit human rights abuses of Palestinians, including the injuring and killing of civilians; the destruction of homes, infrastructure, and agriculture; and the building of illegal settlements and Israel's illegal wall in the West Bank.

I oppose my taxes, in the form of military aid to Israel, being used for these purposes.

ENDNOTES
(1) Report: Caterpillar to delay supply of D9 bulldozers to IDF. Jerusalem Post, Oct 25, 2010, as well as Israel's Channel 2 TV, October 25, 2010 (evening broadcast in Hebrew).

(2) For updates on the trial, visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

(3) The statistics are from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions and run up only until July 28, 2010, a day after the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev desert was razed to the ground. The village would be rebuilt and demolished five additional times (see Open Letter to JNF: Equal Rights, Sustainable Development for Negev, Not Dispossession of Bedouin! and El Araqib Village Demolished for Sixth Time.)

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