For years, Palestine solidarity activists have been pressuring Caterpillar, a company that manufactures construction equipment, to stop the sale of their bulldozers to Israel, as they are used to violate international law by destroying Palestinian homes. An Israeli soldier driving a Caterpillar bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza ran over Rachel Corrie, the young American activist with the International Solidarity Movement, and crushed her to death when she was attempting to stop the destruction of a Palestinian home.
Now, activists have won a minor victory: Israeli press reports indicate that Caterpillar has stopped the sale of equipment to Israel for the duration of an ongoing civil lawsuit against the Israeli government brought by the Corrie family over Rachel’s death.
Here’s the news from 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 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. 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 U.S. government have neither confirmed nor denied the news. And news reports describe the company’s move as a temporary decision only. To urge the U.S. government to make this policy permanent, please sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s petition to President Obama to continue this new policy.