The Palestinian-Israel conflict is not age-old, nor is it based on religion, nor is it
intractable. It is a modern political conflict created by the interplay of power and
politics. Similarly it can be solved by political means that address power and
One of the major aspects of the conflict is the fact that the US provides Israel
with military and economic aid which sustains Israel’s military prowess in the
region as well as its dominance in the Palestinian-Israel conflict. This aid is given
irrespective of Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian and human rights
law. As a result, Israel does nothing to rectify the grievances wrought by military
occupation, the denial of full equality of its Palestinian-Israeli citizens as well as the
right to return of approximately 4.5 million Palestinian refugees.
Activists worldwide have responded to this dismal situation by calling for boycott,
divestment and sanctions campaigns (BDS). In doing so, this movement
recognizes that so long as Israel is economically strong it has no reason to comport
with international humanitarian and human rights law. Similar to the strategy used
to ameliorate the intransigence of Apartheid South Africa’s government, the
strategy of boycott, divestment and sanctions seeks to ameliorate Israel’s military
intransigence and obstinate refusal to comply with international law.
The CAT campaign is part and parcel of this international BDS
campaign. By targeting CAT and exposing its complicity in Israel’s human
rights violations against Palestinians facilitated by the use of CAT bulldozers,
activists are exercising their agency in the Palestinian-Israel conflict by
holding a US based internationally strong corporation accountable.
Although we do not have the power to make the U.S. a truly “honest broker”
in the peace process, and whereas we don’t have the ability to convince
Israeli leadership that equality is really a better solution than is occupation—
we do have the ability to force Israel to contend with the applicability
of international law by joining the BDS campaign and whet that
involvement by targeting CAT.
Caterpillar, Inc., is a multinational corporation based in Peoria, Illinois, that sells
weaponized bulldozers to Israel. These weaponized bulldozers are used to:
• destroy Palestinian homes and civilian infrastructure
• build Israel’s Wall which confiscates Palestinian land
• injure and kill civilians
Human rights and citizens’ groups all over the world have called Caterpillar to
account, demanding that the company stop profiting from the destruction of
Palestinian lives.
Caterpillar is facing a growing public relations and divestment campaign that is
connecting the Cat brand name with home demolitions and other human rights
What is Cat?
Caterpillar is one of the strongest US-based multi-national corporations. It is the
world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.
Cat Company details:
• Incorporated in Peoria, Illinois
• Operating in over 200 countries
• In 2004, the corporation posted sale and revenues of $30.25 billion and a profit
of ~$2 billion (NYSE: CAT).
Caterpillar Bulldozers Are Weapons
Once in Israel, the Caterpillar D9 bulldozers are
equipped by Israeli military companies with
machine gun mounts, smoke projectors,
grenade launchers, and bullet proof windows.
The D9 is over 13 feet (4 meters) tall and can
plow six feet (1.8 meters) into a concrete
structure in a single blow. The front blade is
more than 6 feet high and 15 feet wide. On the
bulldozer’s back is the ‘ripper’ and it can
penetrate five feet and five inches into the
An Israeli military commander referred to Caterpillar
bulldozers as “the key weapon” in its military
occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. ¹
¹ Alon, Ben David 'Israel-Double Jeopardy,'
Jones Defence Weekly, 17/11/04
Israel’s Human Rights Violations –
Perpetrated by Caterpillar
Cat bulldozers have become one of the key
symbols of human rights violations in the
Occupied Territories.
The D9 and D10 bulldozers are instrumental
• the destruction of agricultural land
• home demolitions
• extrajudicial killings of civilians
• the construction of the Annexation Wall (also
known as the Separation Fence).
Agricultural Destruction: Olive Trees
Olive trees are one of the richest symbols of Palestinian history and connection to
the land. For many Palestinians, olives and olive oil represent a main source of
Precise figures relating to destruction committed specifically with Caterpillar
bulldozers is difficult to obtain, yet the following statistics give us some idea:
• Miftah quotes 1,085,063 olive trees uprooted during the “last 4 ½ years” (April
13, 2005).
• The War on Want Caterpillar Report records 454,541 trees uprooted between
Oct 2000 – Dec 2001, quoting a World Bank report of March 18, 2002 (pp. 1718)
Home Demolitions
Caterpillar bulldozers are the main weapon
used by the Israeli Army to demolish
Palestinian homes.
According to the UN, between September
2000 and December 2004, the Israeli Army
destroyed a total of 4,170 Palestinian
Israeli authorities have said that their demolitions are punitive measures against the
family homes of Palestinians engaged in, or suspected of engagement, in armed
activities against Israel.
However, a recent report published by B’Tselem¹ and cited by the UN shows that 47%
of the homes demolished by the Israeli military were never home to anyone suspected
of military activity against Israel.
¹ The Israeli Information Center for
Human Rights in the Occupied
Extrajudicial Killings
Extrajudicial killing is a violation of US
and international law. In the US,
perpetrators of extrajudicial killing
abroad can be sued under the Torture
Victim Protection Act.
The following are three cases of
civilians killed by Caterpillar
Rachel Corrie:
On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old
American peace activist, was killed by a D9 Cat
bulldozer as she attempted to protect a Palestinian
home from demolition. The Israeli soldier responsible
said he did not see Corrie and did not run her over
Jamal Fayed
On April 9, 2002, an Israeli
soldier used a Caterpillar
bulldozer to demolish the
home of Fathiya
Muhammad Sulayman
Fayed, killing her
paralyzed and disabled
son Jamal Fayed who was
still inside at the time of
the demolition.
Ibrahim Mahmoud
On June 12, 2004, a
Caterpillar bulldozer
was used to demolish
the home of Ibrahim
Mahmoud Mohammed
Khalafallah located in
Khan Younis refugee
camp in the Gaza Strip.
The Wall
In June 2002 Israel began construction of a
Wall on Palestinian land inside of, and not on,
the Green Line, citing the pretext of security.
However, the Wall’s path betrays its real
purpose: the annexation of as many illegal
settlements as possible to Israel.
Caterpillar bulldozers are being used to
build this Wall.
At the urging of the UN General Assembly,
the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
examined the case of the Wall.
In July 2004, the Court issued its Advisory
opinion declaring the Wall illegal and calling
for its destruction.
Caterpillar Sales to Israel Violate International
The destruction of agricultural land and homes in the
Occupied Territories is in violation of several
international laws. It’s illegal to:
• destroy or seize Palestinian property. Caterpillar
bulldozers destroy homes and orchards.
• limit the ability of the Palestinians to access food.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
says that Caterpillar bulldozers violate the Palestinian
people’s right to food.
• punish an entire people for the crime of one person.
It’s illegal for Caterpillar bulldozers to destroy a
family’s home, even if one person living there is
suspected of terrorism.
All of the above constitute war crimes under
international law.
Caterpillar Sales to Israel Violate Caterpillar’s Own Code of
In addition to international law, Caterpillar’s own Code of Business
Conduct prohibits the irresponsible sale of their equipment.
Caterpillar’s Code of Business Conduct says,
“Caterpillar accepts the responsibilities of global citizenship.
Wherever we conduct business or invest our resources around
the world, we know that our commitment to financial success
must also take into account social priorities.”
Caterpillar Defends Its Sale of Weaponized Bulldozers
In response to letters from activists,
Human Rights Watch, and the UN
Special Rapporteur to Food, Cat CEO
James Owens wrote that Caterpillar has
“neither the legal right nor the ability
to monitor and police individual use
of that equipment.”
In a Caterpillar statement on the Middle
East, they said
“we believe any comments on
political comments on the political
conflict in the region are best left to
our governmental leaders who the
ability to impact action and advance
the peace process.”
What Can We Do?
In the case of its sales to the Israeli military Caterpillar has clearly violated
international law and its own code of conduct.
Even with calls from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Special
Rapporteur on Food Rights, the Presbyterian Church USA, and citizens’ groups
working on human rights in Israel-Palestine, Caterpillar has not changed its policy,
much less conducted an independent investigation of its behavior.
Violations of the Palestinians’ human rights continue.
Citizens Taking Action:
The Powerful Example of Divestment
from South African Apartheid
In the US, we have many precedents of
small groups of concerned citizens
effecting massive change.
During the campaign against South African
apartheid in the 1980s, activists waged a
divestment campaign against Chase
Manhattan, Mobil, Shell, General
Motors, and IBM, and other US
corporations doing business with Apartheid
South Africa.
We have the opportunity to play a positive
role in the world once again.
Demonstrators at Yale University 1 November 1985 for
financial divestment from apartheid South Africa
Citizens Taking Action:
The US Campaign to End the Israeli
Occupation and Caterpillar
At the US Campaign to End the Israeli
Occupation’s 4th Annual Conference, its
member organizations passed a resolution
to adopt the Cat Campaign as its National
The Campaign consists of a three-pronged
strategy to put grassroots, legislative, and
institutional pressure on Cat.
For more information and resources:
and/or contact
Citizens Taking Action:
Jewish Voice for Peace and Caterpillar
Since 2003, Jewish Voice for Peace has presented
two stockholder resolutions at Cat’s annual
shareholder meetings.
JVP plans to present another shareholder resolution
once again to mount internal pressure and bring
more attention to Cat’s complicity in human rights
violations perpetrated against Palestinians.
For more information on how to get involved in
Jewish activism against Cat human rights
abuses, please contact
Citizens Taking Action:
Presbyterian Church and Caterpillar
In July 2004, the Presbyterian Church voted in favor of a
resolution that will assess whether or not the situation on
the ground in Israel-Palestine warrants selective
divestment from corporations profiting from the Israeli
Among the corporations targeted is Caterpillar. In the
summer of 2006, the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church USA will discuss whether or not to
move ahead with the initiative on selective divestment.
For more information on how to support your local
Presbyterian Church, contact
Citizens Taking Action:
The Lawsuit Against Caterpillar
The Seattle Law School Human Rights Clinic in
collaboration with the Center for Constitutional Rights
filed a law suit against Caterpillar on behalf of seven
Palestinian families and the parents of Rachel Corrie.
The law suit was filed in March 2005 and cites the Alien
Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act.
Caterpillar is being charged with wrongful death,
negligence, extra-judicial killing, and war crimes.
For more information about the law suit please visit and/or contact
Citizens Taking Action:
StopCAT Coalition and Caterpillar
The StopCAT Coalition, based out of Chicago, Illinois is
waging a consumer boycott against Cat which targets its
apparel line.
For two years in a row, StopCAT has organized and
coordinated a national demonstration on March 16th to
commemorate the murder of Rachel Corrie.
For more information on how to get involved with
StopCAT initiatives, visit
Citizens Taking Action:
Other Local Caterpillar Campaigns
There are also local Caterpillar coalitions in at least 10
US cities, including:
• Boston
• New York
• Washington, DC
• Philadelphia
• Detroit
• Chicago
• Peoria
• Kansas City
• Oakland
• Portland
For more information on local Cat Campaigns, or to
get the materials to begin your own local work on Cat
How can I get more involved?
If you’d like to get involved in the movement to use economic pressure to end
the Israeli government’s abuse of human rights, get more information at:
and email:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Cat is a multi-billion dollar, multi-national
corporation—isn’t futile to try to hurt it
You’re probably right—it will be near to impossible to hurt
Caterpillar economically, but that’s not the point. This
Campaign aims to be a public relations campaign to
tarnish the image that Cat strives to make for itself as
a “globally responsible” corporation.
Caterpillar spends millions each year associating its brand
name with positive values. Caterpillar recently sued
Disney to block release of a children’s movie in which
cartoon Caterpillar bulldozers are destroying the rain
forest. A company that is concerned about the brand
damage caused by a cartoon must also be concerned
about the brand damage caused by real news footage
of Cat bulldozers grinding down children’s bedrooms
and uprooting family kitchens.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Cat is a multi-billion dollar, multi-national
corporation—isn’t futile to try to hurt it
economically? cont.’d
While Caterpillar has responded to human rights and
citizen’s groups for years with the same boilerplate
statement denying responsibility for human rights
abuses, the issue has become a serious public
relations problem that shows no signs of going away.
Negative coverage of the company has skyrocketed from
2001 when only 3 stories ran connecting Cat to the
illegal destruction of property, to the first three months
of 2005, when nearly 230 similar stories ran in major
English-language media outlets.
While we can’t make them go bankrupt we can certainly
continue the great job we’re already doing to make
Cat’s true colors shine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cat isn't responsible for how their equipment is being
used by the Israeli military.
Corporate executives have served jail time for selling
products to governments who use them to violate
human rights. For example, during World War II, the
Nazi regime used an ordinary pesticide called Zyklon B
to kill human beings in gas chambers.
During the Nuremburg Trials, conducted after the war,
corporate executives of chemical conglomerate IG
Farben, the company that produced Zyklon B, claimed
that they could not have known how their product was
being used.
The court disagreed. Thirteen of IG Farben’s executives
went to jail for war crimes.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Cat isn't responsible for how their equipment is being
used by the Israeli military, cont.’d
Frans van Anraat, a Dutch businessman, was arrested at
his home in December 2004 and charged with
providing Saddam Hussein’s regime with the poison
gas that killed thousands of Kurds in Halabja in the late
1980s. He was condemned and sentenced to 15 years
imprisonment in December 2005.
Caterpillar executives are knowingly providing the
equipment being used by the Israeli military to violate
human rights. This is like selling a gun to a convicted
killer who you know is planning a murder. If you knew
this person was going to kill someone and you helped
them do it, you are also responsible for the crime.
There is a legal precedent for corporate executives
being held liable for supplying equipment used to
violate human rights.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Doesn’t targeting Cat detract from the real problem—Israeli human rights
The Israeli government is indeed the ultimate culprit in this situation. The idea is
not to deflect attention from Israel but to elucidate its violations by waging a
corporate accountability campaign that folds into the international
boycott/divestment/sanctions movement. The movement seeks to isolate
Israel economically, socially, and culturally much the same way that the antiApartheid movement did with Apartheid South Africa.
Targeting Cat should enhance the campaign to put economic pressure on Israel
to end the Israeli government’s abuse of human rights. Caterpillar is one
example of many US corporations and enterprises that profit from Israel’s
racist policies that also translates into its military occupation of the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip.
By targeting Cat, we have the opportunity to reach the hearts and ears of
average Americans who otherwise may never care to ask. This forces those
Average Americans to ask, what is Cat doing? Why are homes being
bulldozed? Since when was that legal?
Frequently Asked Questions:
Doesn’t targeting Cat detract from the real problem—Israeli human rights abuses?
Comprehensive divestment is optimal but not always possible given regional
To bypass the road blocks stunting the divestment campaign, use Cat as a stepping
stone, an illustrative example among many.
It is also a great opportunity to link Cat to other campaigns—namely the corporate
accountability movement. Other US corporations that have been targeted at home for
their violations abroad include: The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Shell Oil, Royal Dutch
Petroleum, and Exxon.

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