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 politics. 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. Introduction 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 violations. 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 ground. 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 in: • 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 income. 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 homes. 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 Territories 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 bulldozers. 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 intentionally. 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 Mohammed Khalafallah 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 Law 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 Conduct 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 Campaign. The Campaign consists of a three-pronged strategy to put grassroots, legislative, and institutional pressure on Cat. For more information and resources: http://www.endtheoccupation.org and/or contact [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 occupation. 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 [email protected] 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 www.ccr-ny.org and/or contact [email protected] 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 http://www.stopcat.org/. 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 goto: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=typ e&type=157 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: www.endtheoccupation.org www.CATdestroysHomes.org www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org www.stopcat.org and email: [email protected] [email protected] Frequently Asked Questions: Cat is a multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporation—isn’t futile to try to hurt it economically? 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 abuses? 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? cont.’d Comprehensive divestment is optimal but not always possible given regional considerations. 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.