The ETO Coalition seeks to educate the U.S. public about the violence of the on-going occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and advocate for an end the Israeli occupation. Because the Israeli policy of home destruction is one of the more immoral and illegal aspects of occupation, we believe that joining the campaign to get Caterpillar Corporation to stop selling bulldozers to the Israeli military will further this aim. The goals of our involvement in this campaign include:
1. To get a public condemnation from Caterpillar Corporation about Israel’s use of its equipment in home destruction and to convince them to stop selling bulldozers to the Israeli military.
2. To lobby the U.S. Administration and Congress to place all bulldozers on a dual-use restricted list forbidding the Israeli military from using U.S. tax dollars to purchase bulldozers until the Israeli government ends its policy of home destruction.
STEP ONE: AN ETO LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN
Before we can begin to invite others to contact Caterpillar Corporation about their involvement in the Israeli home destruction policy we need to communicate our concerns to Caterpillar. The first step of our campaign involves members of the ETO writing personal letters to Mr. Glen Barton, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar. To help you with this task we have included the following three pages of background information. When you write your letters please remember the following:
1. Be positive. Stress the fact that you have great respect and admiration for Caterpillar and that this is why it makes their involvement with the Israeli military even more disturbing.
2. Stress the fact that you live in Illinois, the home state of the Caterpillar World Headquarters. Raise the issue of how badly it reflects upon the state for Palestinians and others around the world seeing Caterpillar bulldozers destroying the homes of Palestinian.
3. Use Caterpillar’s own social responsibility documents to make your case. Point out the illegality of the Israeli policy.
4. Ask for specific action, "the termination of business relationships between Caterpillar and the Israeli government until the policy of home destruction is ended."
5. Save a copy of all your correspondence. Please let ETO know if you get a response.
The Israeli Policy of Home Destruction
Since the Occupation began in 1967, Israel has demolished thousands of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, Gaza and Arab East Jerusalem, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless, destitute, living in fear and trauma. Thousands of demolition orders remain outstanding, meaning Palestinian families can have their homes destroyed at any moment. The Israeli authorities issue dozens of new demolition orders each month.
Home Destruction by the Numbers:
7,000: The number of Palestinian homes destroyed by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since the beginning of the occupation in 1967.
30,000: The number of Palestinians left homeless, destitute and living in fear and trauma as a result of the Israeli policy of home destruction.
2,650: The number of houses destroyed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem & Gaza Strip since the start of the second Intifada in September, 2000 but not counting those destroyed by the Israeli military invasion of the West Bank in April, 2002.
7,300: The number of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem designated as "illegal" by the Israeli authorities and in danger of destruction, as of January 2002.
Is the Israeli Policy of Home Destruction legal?
The vast majority of home destructions in the Occupied Territories are conducted for Israeli administrative reasons and cannot be justified under international law.
The Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 53) states, "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging to individuals or collectively to private persons or to the State or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.
The Israeli military will often destroy homes of families of suspected terrorists.
Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that:
"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not
personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of
intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Reprisals against protected
persons and their property are prohibited."
"The motivation for demolishing these homes is purely political and violates all human rights covenants - although an elaborate system of planning regulations, laws and procedures lends the policy of demolishing homes a legal facade. The goal is to confine the three million residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to small, crowded, impoverished and disconnected enclaves, thus effectively foreclosing any viable Palestinian entity and ensuring Israeli control even if the Palestinians achieve some form of political "autonomy." In the long run, it forces Palestinians to leave the country altogether." - Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions.
Caterpillar Corporations Role
in the Israeli Policy of Home Destruction.
The Israeli military is proud of its relationship with Caterpillar Corporation and its role in the policy of home destruction. Check out the following postings on the ETO website:
The Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer was also used in the latest Israeli military invasion in the West Bank. According to a recent Time Magazine story, "Cobra attack helicopters began to pound rooftop Palestinian positions. But the Israelis' most effective weapon was unconventional: the huge, armored D-9 bulldozer, 20 ft. tall and weighing more than 50 tons; its shovel can crush a car with a single blow. Eventually, a dozen of them went into action, clearing paths for the tanks and detonating booby traps; Palestinians say Israeli troops rode atop them, firing rocket-propelled grenades."
From the Time magazine story of Jenin ( http://www.time.com/time/2002/jenin/story.html )
Excerpts from Caterpillar’s "Making A Difference"
A handbook designed to help employees understand and apply the principles
of balanced decision making and social responsibility
"Our company’s most valuable asset is our reputation for integrity and an important part of maintaining that reputation is our commitment to good corporate citizenship."
"People know that we can supply the equipment to get the job done. But we can supply even more—the expertise and ingenuity to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Solutions that not only make progress possible but also protect our environment and improve the quality of life for all."
"Our reputation for quality, reliability and integrity depends on
more than how our products perform. It depends on how everything we do—as
a company and as individuals –affects the world and the people who live
in it. Our actions speak louder than any words we can say."
Excerpts from the Caterpillar Code of Worldwide Business Conduct.
No document Caterpillar has published is more important than our Code of Worldwide Business Conduct."
- Mr. Glen Barton, Chairman & CEO
"Caterpillar accepts the responsibilities of global citizenship. Whenever we conduct business or invest our resources around the world, we know that our commitment to financial success must also take into account social, economic, political and environmental priorities. We believe that our success should also contribute to the quality of life and the prosperity of communities where we work and live."
"Without the commitment of all Caterpillar employees to guide their professional and personal behavior accord to our Code of Conduct, its principles become only words. Each of us must accept what it means and apply it consistently."
Mr. Glen Barton, Chairman & CEO,
Caterpillar Inc., 100 N.E. Adams St.,