NEW YORK - In recent weeks the Israeli government has announced plans to demolish 88 more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem using Caterpillar bulldozers, as Israel continues to bulldoze Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Simultaneously, Caterpillar executives will lead a June 14 workshop on Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at a conference for international business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Given CAT’s continued provision of equipment for Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes and property, CAT executives are the last people who should give advice to others on such issues.
Outraged NYC human rights activists will be protesting CAT’s leading role in the Business and Sustainability Conference outside the Waldorf on Park Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets from 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m., as conference participants arrive. Activists will be demanding that CAT end its support for Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
This peaceful protest is being organized by an ad hoc New York City group in support of the National Stop CAT Campaign. It has been endorsed by the International Solidarity Movement - NYC, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, Queer Resistance for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Women of a Certain Age, Jews Against the Occupation NYC, and the BootCAT Campaign.
The Business and Sustainability Conference, on “The Promise and Challenge of Sustainable Development,” has been organized by The Conference Board of New York City. Gail Fosler, a Senior Vice President at The Conference Board, serves on Caterpillar’s Board of Directors. At a June 14, 10:45 a.m. conference session, W. Stan Born, CAT’s Director for Social Responsibility, will speak on CAT’s development of a “Corporate Social Responsibility Framework linked to business value.”
In Israel/Palestine, CAT has clearly overwhelmingly chosen business value over social responsibility. The D9 and D10 bulldozers that CAT sells to the Israel government are designed specifically to destroy Palestinian land, roads, water supplies, and sewer systems and to uproot hundreds of thousands of fruit and olive trees - the main livelihood for many Palestinians. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (www.icahd.org), “Since 1967 Israel has demolished almost 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving some 70,000 without shelter and traumatized.” CAT bulldozers have helped to facilitate Israel’s policy of sustained destruction of the Palestinian economy and communities.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others denounce the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and property as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Center for Constitutional Rights has brought a lawsuit against Caterpillar for providing Israel with bulldozers, knowing they will be used to commit war crimes and human rights violations.