Peace activists around the world are celebrating Friday’s announcement that the Illinois-based company, Caterpillar, has decided to hold off shipment of dozens of armored bulldozers to the Israeli military while a trial about the killing of Rachel Corrie is ongoing in Israel.Corrie was run down by a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer in 2003 while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian doctor’s home in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Her parents launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against Caterpillar Corporation in the US for their role in her death. Now, they are pursuing a lawsuit in Israel against the Israeli military and the soldiers involved in her death.
Sydney Levy with Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the organizations that have been pushing for Caterpillar to divest from its contracts with the Israeli military, wrote on Friday, “We take this as an indirect admission by the company that these bulldozers are being used to violate human rights and to violate the law. The Corrie story is sadly just one of thousands of stories of loss and pain. A suspension of the sale of bulldozers is what we have been asking Caterpillar for over seven years now. “
He added, “Caterpillar’s irresponsible behavior comes with a heavy price tag. In the last ten years, at least 11,795 homes have been demolished. These statistics, gruesome as they are, cannot do justice to the pain of so many families, to their razed livelihoods and their shattered dreams.”
Caterpillar itself has not made any statement apart from the notice of suspension of the sale. But activists are claiming a victory in their campaign against Caterpillar, and noting that this is the first time that Caterpillar has taken any action regarding the issue.