THE INTERFAITH COMMUNITY FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
To Whom It May Concern:
We, the undersigned members of the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights in Austin, Texas strongly encourage you, the proprietors of Caterpillar bulldozers, machinery, and/or other products to cease and desist all sales of merchandise to the state of Israel, including private merchants working on behalf of the state of Israel, immediately. It is our view and the view of millions of citizens around the world that you are aiding the state of Israel in their illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine and that through sale of Caterpillar bulldozers and machinery to Israel, you are responsible for the following:
The Uprooting of Olive Trees
Caterpillar bulldozers are responsible for the uprooting and destruction of tens of thousands of Palestinian olive trees in the last five years alone.
The olive tree is a staple of the Palestinian economy and its destruction in turn means the destruction of Palestinian lives and livelihood.
The Demolition of Homes
Since 1967, Israel has demolished 12,000 Palestinian homes leaving 70,000 Palestinians homeless
Since 2000, only15 percent of those homes demolished were destroyed as a retaliatory measure by the state of Israel responding to violence instigated by family members or acquaintances of household residents.
While these actions constitute collective punishment, illegal according to international law, the vast majority of Palestinian homes destroyed (roughly 85 percent) are destroyed by the state of Israel without any provocation or purpose other than the intimidation, harassment, and persecution the Palestinian civilian population.
The Construction of the Illegal Separation Wall
Caterpillar bulldozers are Israels instrument of choice for the construction of the Separation Wall, also called the Apartheid Wall for its prejudicial segregation and isolation of Palestinian citizens.
This wall was designated as an illegal construction and was deemed an unnecessary and offensive measure of occupation by the International Court of Justice in their July 9, 2004 ruling because it unnecessarily infringes on the human rights of Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Israel is currently in violation of international law as a result of the continual construction of this wall and subsequently, all nations and private organizations that continue to aid Israel in this construction are likewise in violation of international law.
The Murder of Civilians
In April 2002, Caterpillar bulldozers killed seven Palestinians including an 85-year-old man, a pregnant woman, and three children ages 9, 7, and 4.
In March 2002, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American peace activist was crushed and killed by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer while she attempted to prevent the illegal demolition of a Palestinian home.
At present, because of its persistent sale of merchandise to the state of Israel, Caterpillar is among the corporations responsible for violations of United Nations restrictions on generating profit from the violation of human rights, as well as Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that the extensive destruction and appropriation of property carried out unlawfully and wantonly is a war crime. By selling machinery to Israel, Caterpillar, Inc. is also violating the US Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits the private sale of US made machinery or weapons that are used against civilian populations.
As a business who strives to
ensure that our success as a corporation contributes to the quality of life of all people touched by our business and whose corporate philosophy openly states that a:
commitment to financial success must also take into
account social, economic, political, and environmental priorities
we believe that it is necessary for you as a proprietor of Caterpillar bulldozers and machinery to stop all sales to the state of Israel and to private merchants working on behalf of Israel immediately.
We, the undersigned members of the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights along with numerous other socially conscious organizations, are now engaged in a global campaign to stop the further sale of Caterpillar equipment to Israel. This campaign places Caterpillar Inc. at the top of a list of corporate violators of international law who continue to profit from Israels illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine. The campaign will continue to support, through any and all non-violent means available, the end to the sale of Caterpillar equipment to Israel until Caterpillar Inc. and all affiliated merchants see fit to adhere to US law, international regulation, the Geneva Convention, and your own corporate philosophy by halting sales to Israel.
The Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights
February 10, 2006