Caterpillar Delays Bulldozer Shipments to Israel During Rachel Corrie Trial

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Caterpillar, the Illinois-headquartered construction and farming equipment company, has said it will delay shipments of D9 bulldozers to Israel during the Rachel Corrie trial. Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist from Washington state, was killed by an Israeli Defense Forces soldier who ran over her while driving a D9 to demolish a Palestinian home in Gaza in 2003. Her family is suing Israel, and Corrie has become an iconic figure in pro-Palestinian circles. (One of the boats in the aid flotilla bound for Gaza that Israeli troops stormed this summer, killing nine, was named for Corrie.)

For years, Caterpillar has taken heat for supplying bulldozers to Israel. "Caterpillar claims that selling military equipment to Israel and other countries amounts to only 0.06% of its sales," says Lynn Pollack of Jewish Voices for Peace. "Too many homes, trees, and lives in Palestine have paid dearly for that meager 0.06%. It is high time for Caterpillar to be less greedy and more ethical."

And while a few institutions -- Hampshire College, the Church of England -- have divested from the company (whose sales rose 53 percent during the third quarter of this year), Caterpillar has, until now, not bended to pressure to suspend sales to Israel.

Previously, the Corrie family sued Caterpillar in U.S. court, but a federal court of appeals ruled that the company "cannot be held legally liable for the use of its bulldozers in Israeli military operations because the equipment is paid for with American government funds and represents an extension of American foreign policy, a federal appeals court ruled," reported the New York Sun.

Caterpillar Delays Bulldozer Shipments to Israel During Rachel Corrie Trial