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Home  » Action Alerts   »  Investigate Caterpillar Bulldozer ...

Investigate Caterpillar Bulldozer Violations of U.S. Law

U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
"Washington Wednesday" Action Alert
INVESTIGATE CATERPILLAR BULLDOZER VIOLATIONS OF U.S. LAW

START DATE: April 7, 2004
END DATE: To be determined

Take Action
 
1. Contact your Members of Congress and demand that they request an advisory report from the General Accounting Office (GAO)* investigating possible violations by Israel of the Arms Export Control Act through its use of Caterpillar bulldozers in the occupied Palestinian territories.  Contact information for your Members of Congress can be found at the US Campaign's Congressional Report Card: http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=59  

2. Sign a petition to your Members of Congress asking them to "request an advisory report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigating possible violations by Israel of the Arms Export Control Act through its use of Caterpillar bulldozers in the occupied Palestinian territories."  The petition can be signed at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput.php?modin=54.  Please be sure to include the name of your Representative.  We will forward your contact information to the US Campaign's Congressional District Coordinator for your Congressional district.  Your contact information will not be made public in any way.    

* The GAO "is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress. GAO exists to support the Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the American people."


Background
 
Since 1967 Israel has used Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish nearly 9,000 Palestinian homes, leaving more than 50,000 people homeless. Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, Israel has razed the homes of over 12,737 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to the Office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, between October 10 and 20, 2003 alone the Israeli army demolished 130 Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, rendering 1,200 people homeless. In the past two years the Israeli army deployed Caterpillar bulldozers to uproot 200,000 Palestinian olive trees. In April 2002 Caterpillar D9s demolished an entire neighborhood in the Jenin refugee camp. Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist, was murdered by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003 as she nonviolently tried to prevent it from destroying a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip. Caterpillar profits from Israel's construction of a 25 foot high wall and fence that will confiscate as much as 40 percent of the West Bank. The wall separates Palestinians from their farmlands and cuts some villages off from the rest of the West Bank, and will render as many as 100,000 people completely isolated.
 
The Caterpillar Corporation claims that, "With regard to Israel, sales between Caterpillar and the U.S. government are openly conducted through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program." The U.S. government buys Caterpillar bulldozers and sends them to Israel as part of our country's annual foreign military assistance package. Such sales are governed by the U.S. Arms Export Control Act (Public Law 90-829), which limits the use of U.S. military aid to "internal security" and "legitimate self-defense" and prohibits its use against civilians.
 
There appear to be good reasons to believe that Israelís use of Caterpillar bulldozers constitutes a violation of this legislation.
 
We request our Members of Congress to ask the General Accounting Office to investigate Caterpillar sales to Israel.
 
Talking Points
 
* The Caterpillar Corporation has been in the business of war profiteering, profiting from the violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people and from the escalating cycle of violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
 
* The U.S. government's purchase of Caterpillar bulldozers on behalf of Israel's military could constitute a violation of U.S. law. Congress must take the lead in calling for an investigation and hold the executive branch accountable to the laws it passes restricting the use of U.S. military aid.
 
* Calling for an investigation of Caterpillar bulldozers being used by Israel is not anti-Israel. On the contrary, such transparency will ultimately strengthen U.S.-Israel ties by encouraging the two countries to work together to build a sustainable and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
Sample Letter (Please personalize for effectiveness) 
 
Dear Representative or Senator ____:
 
I am writing to request that you ask for an advisory report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigating possible violations by Israel of the Arms Export Control Act through its use of Caterpillar bulldozers in the occupied Palestinian territories. The current situation is dire. According to the Office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, between October 10 and 20, 2003 alone the Israeli army demolished 130 Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, rendering 1,200 people homeless. Since 1967, Israel has used Caterpillar equipment to conduct systematic, widespread, and well-documented destruction of Palestinians' homes. Caterpillar bulldozers were the primary instrument in the demolition of the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002, and a Caterpillar bulldozer killed Rachel Corrie, an unarmed American civilian in March 2003.
 
According to Caterpillar Corporation representatives, "With regard to Israel, sales between Caterpillar and the U.S. government are openly conducted through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program." The United States government buys Caterpillar bulldozers and sends them to Israel as part of our country's annual foreign military assistance package. Such sales are governed by the U.S. Arms Export Control Act (Public Law 90-829), which limits the use of U.S. military aid to "internal security" and "legitimate self-defense" and prohibits its use against civilians.
 
There appear to be good reasons to believe that Israelís use of Caterpillar bulldozers constitutes a violation of this legislation.
 
I look forward to your prompt reply and will follow up with your office regarding any steps that you are taking on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide any further information.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
(Write your full contact information here)
 
Get more information on the Caterpillar campaign at: www.CATdestroysHomes.org

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