ADC Questions Caterpillar about Reports Regarding Demolitions of Palestinian Homes
Washington, DC — In a letter to Glen A. Barton, Chair and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today called on the heavy equipment manufacturer to respond to reports that Caterpillar bulldozers and other equipment are being used in the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli occupation forces. The letter from ADC President Dr. Ziad Asali asks Caterpillar to clarify three points:
1) Is the Israeli government using Caterpillar products in the perpetration of massive human rights abuses and possible war crimes against the Palestinian people?
2) What is Caterpillar’s position regarding the use of its products in the furtherance of illegal acts against defenseless civilians?
3) If Israel is using Caterpillar products for such immoral and illegal purposes, will Caterpillar continue to allow them to be sold to the Israeli government?
In the most serious of these recent demolition incidents, on Thursday, Jan. 10, Israeli forces demolished over 60 homes in the Rafah refugee camp leaving more than 600 Palestinians homeless. In addition, on Monday, Jan. 14, at least 9 homes were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. Over the decades of occupation, thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israeli forces. Dr. Asali noted that the US government has repeatedly called on Israel to end the policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.
ADC’s letter to Caterpillar points out that such actions are a clear breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which countless UN Security Council resolutions affirm Israel is bound to observe as the “Occupying Power” in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ADC also quoted Gideon Levy, columnist for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, who wrote on Jan. 13 that “The punitive action executed by Israel at the weekend in the Gaza Strip, and in particular the mass demolition of homes in Rafah on Thursday morning, constitute a war crime. There is no other way to describe and define the collective punishment of hundreds of innocent civilians who have been left utterly destitute.”