Legal grounds for holding Caterpillar responsible

Last updated: August 13th, 2007 01:21 AM (PDT)

Re: “Bulldozer maker isn’t responsible for death” (letter, 8-7).

There actually are grounds for holding Caterpillar responsible in the deaths of Rachel Corrie and Palestinians killed by bulldozers routinely used by the Israeli Occupation Forces to illegally demolish Palestinian homes en masse.

According to the Justice Department “defense” lawyer at the Corrie et al v. Caterpillar hearing, there would be legal grounds for going after the manufacturers of the ovens used in the Holocaust. Caterpillar could be similarly culpable of aiding and abetting war crimes if it knew its equipment was being used to harm civilians and violate international law and human rights.

On its Web page about this case, the Center for Constitutional Rights says, “The United States, international human rights organizations and the United Nations have condemned house demolitions as a clear violation of international humanitarian law.” There’s a link to this case-page through the Rachel Corrie Foundation Web site.

There’s also a link to “Myths & Facts” about Corrie, which I think is imperative for anyone wanting to comment on her presence and actions in Gaza. A few say she shouldn’t have been there. However, guidelines like the Nuremberg Principles, which the U.S. co-created, call on civilians to stand up against human rights violations.

That’s precisely what Corrie was doing as was, among others, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights when he was arrested for one of his many stands between a Caterpillar bulldozer and a Palestinian home.

Originally published: August 13th, 2007 01:21 AM (PDT)