Caterpillar Inc. knows what is happening with its equipment. It has long been on notice about the pattern of Israeli human rights violations committed with its equipment. In 2004, Amnesty International denounced Israel’s razing of Palestinian dwellings as “a grave breach of international humanitarian law,” and recommended that Caterpillar “take measures – within the company sphere of influence – to guarantee that its bulldozers are not used to commit human rights violations…” In 2010, Amnesty International reiterated the gravity and urgency. In 2004, Human Rights Watch demanded that Caterpillar “immediately suspend” the sale of D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military. Just last year, more than 16,000 U.S. citizens called for investigation of Israeli violations of U.S. arms export laws with CAT equipment, and for an end to Caterpillar D9 deliveries to the Israeli military until their use complies with U.S. and international law.
Sadly, Caterpillar Inc. continues to sell equipment to the Israeli government, putting corporate profit before human rights. CAT bulldozers have become a worldwide symbol of destruction in Palestine – rather than one of innovative building and construction appropriate to the National Building Museum and the Henry C. Turner prize.
We do not expect the National Building Museum and the Henry C. Turner Prize jurors to solve the problems of the Middle East, but we urge them to avoid sending a message that inadvertently congratulates involvement in human rights violations. Instead, we urge them to convey to Caterpillar Inc. and the world that the most gifted and innovative builders must, also, meet their obligations as responsible global citizens.