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Caterpillar Inc., also known as CAT, is a U.S.-based multinational manufacturer and provider of civil and military engineering machinery. Caterpillar is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. The company operates in three sectors: resource industries, construction industries and power systems.

The company sells its products under the brands Caterpillar, CAT, EMD, FG Wilson, MaK, MWM, Perkins, Progress Rail, SEM and Solar Turbines.  

Caterpillar in service of the Israeli military

Caterpillar is a long-standing supplier of the Israeli military and provides it with a variety of heavy engineering machinery, including different wheel loaders, armored excavators, mini loaders and several models from the D9 armored bulldozer series (D9R, D9N, D9L and D9T).

Caterpillar machinery has been widely used for house demolition and settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as for the construction of the Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank and the barrier surrounding besieged Gaza.

Fitted D9 Caterpillar bulldozers are extensively used by the Israeli military to accompany military forces during invasions and military arrests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Caterpillar machinery has also been used for creating roadblocks, dispersing demonstrations, and as a crowd control weapon against Palestinian demonstrators.

Services for the Israeli military

The Israeli military Engineering Corps holds and operates hundreds of Caterpillar excavators and bulldozers. A Caterpillar’s operation of mechanical engineering equipment course is part of specialized training in the Israeli military.

Caterpillar’s Israeli representative Zoko Enterprises, is the exclusive supplier of Caterpillar heavy machinery for the Israeli military. Zoko retrofits some of Caterpillar's heavy machinery vehicles for the needs of the military, and company personnel is responsible for the maintenance of the combat vehicles in use by the military.

In December 2023, amid the Israeli attack on Gaza, Zoko Enterprises’ personnel were recruited to the Israeli military as a reserve unit to serve as reinforcements for the army's Caterpillar D9 bulldozers' maintenance personnel. During the Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2014, Zoko employees were deployed in the battlefront, as part of an agreement with the Israeli military that allows the recruitment of company’s personnel during combat to maintain Caterpillar D9 bulldozers in battle.

In November 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) placed an accelerated order for the purchase of additional bulldozers from the Caterpillar company, through Zoko Enterprises.

In January 2024, the IMOD announced that it had begun the purchase of about 100 additional engineering tools, most of them large D9 bulldozer type tools. The bulldozers, expected to arrive in Israel by sea transport, will be fitted for the military and put into operation and some will be converted to autonomous use.

In 2017, the Israeli military purchased dozens of Caterpillar heavy engineering vehicles, in a huge deal, estimated at tens of millions of NIS between the Israeli military and Caterpillar Company, funded by US foreign aid.


The most widely known heavy engineering machine used by the Israeli military is the Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer, nicknamed “Doobi”. Additional adapted Caterpillar D9 bulldozers used by the Israeli military include the unmanned remotely controlled D9 bulldozer "Panda" and the previous remote-controlled version of the armored D9T, nicknamed “Pooh HaDov” (Winnie-the-Pooh).

The D9 bulldozers have been in the Israeli military’s service since the 1960s and have been retrofitted since the 1980s. Since 2000, the D9s have been used regularly in almost every military activity, usually leading the forces. The D9 clears axes, destroys houses, and is used in the "pressure cooker" procedure.

D9s have been extensively used in the Israeli military attacks on Gaza and for operational tasks such as large-scale demolitions, land-clearing missions and arrests operations across the occupied Palestinian territory.

Caterpillar tools have been retrofitted by the Ramta Division of the government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Some of the retrofitting includes the installation of gunner positions and a bulletproof driver cabin to allow for battle use.

In 2019, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) selected Elbit Systems’ “Iron Fist” (Porcupine Arrow) autonomous active defense system to be installed on the military’s Caterpillar D9 bulldozers.


Gaza 2023-2024

During the Israeli attack on Gaza between October 2023 and May 2024, D9 bulldozers were extensively used in the military ground invasion of Gaza, leading the ground forces. The D9 bulldozers played a significant part in the invasion of Gaza, mainly in the execution of complex and long engineering tasks. The D9 bulldozer crews were the first to invade the Gaza Strip in October 2023.

“Panda” Autonomous D9

During the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza in 2023-2024, the Israeli military experimented with the extensive use of the unmanned remotely controlled D9 bulldozer, the "Panda".

The giant "Panda" type D-9 bulldozer, also known as RobDozer, was massively used for the first time during the current attack on Gaza by the Combat Engineering Corps, leading the Ground Forces into the Gaza Strip already on the very first day of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in October 2023. This was the first time in the world that an army operated autonomous robotic ground tools of this type as part of an operational activity in ground maneuver on the battlefield.

The Panda robotic bulldozer is based on Caterpillar's CAT D9T bulldozer, weighs 50 tons and is remotely operated using a screen and joystick and equipped with many cameras. It is designed to support the Infantry and Ground Forces by carrying out ground exposures, demolishing buildings, opening axes, providing logistical assistance, gathering intelligence and assisting attacks with a remotely controlled weapon system.

The Panda was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Israeli Ground Forces Technology Division, and the Defense Research & Development Directorate in the IMOD. The D9 bulldozers have been converted by IAI’s subsidiary, Elta Systems, which also developed the Autonomous Combat Engineering System installed on the bulldozers.

D9 bulldozers

Between October 2023 and March 2024, Caterpillar D9 bulldozers have been documented in the streets of Gaza causing massive destruction to roads, buildings, private property, and infrastructure, including the destruction of the Gaza courthouse and the Palestine Square in Gaza City.

In March 2024, D9 bulldozers participated in the military raid of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city, while patients and medical staff were on the premises. Israeli military caused great destruction to the hospital, burned buildings in the compound and put them completely out of use.

Construction of military infrastructure

In February 2024, Caterpillar heavy machinery was used by the Israeli military's Combat Engineering Corps in the construction of a new road in northern Gaza. The road, nick named "Highway 749", runs across northern Gaza from east to west and cuts off Gaza City.

For more on the use of Caterpillar’s equipment in the 2023-2024 Israeli attack on Gaza, see Who Profits’ report The Companies Supplying Weapons to Israel’s Attack on Gaza

Gaza 2008-2022

Caterpillar machinery and the D9 bulldozers have also been extensively used in previous Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2021, 2014, 2008, and 2009, for large-scale house demolitions, land-clearing missions, and the construction of the wall surrounding the besieged Gaza. 

In January 2021, an Israeli military D9 bulldozer engaged in excavation near agricultural fields east of Khan Yunis, distributed leaflets to the local Palestinian farmers warning them against continuing to cultivate the land close to the fence. In April 2021, Israeli military armored Caterpillar bulldozers invaded Palestinian lands, east of Gaza.

In February 2020, the Israeli military was documented using an armored bulldozer to drag and move the body of Mohammed Ali al-Naim, 27, who was killed by Israeli forces, east of Khan Younis, south of Gaza. The bulldozer went into Gaza, accompanied by a military tank, in order to take Naim’s body out of Gaza. According to publications the bulldozer used was identified as manufactured by Caterpillar.

In March 2019, the Israeli military deployed “Doobi” armored Caterpillar D9s against protestors during the Great March of Return protests near the barrier surrounding Gaza.

In 2018, Caterpillar heavy machinery was used for the construction of the maritime barrier surrounding Gaza. The barrier is made of a new breakwater structure, with a high fence surrounding it, and an advanced detection system. The sea barrier is 200 meters long and 50 meters in width, and the surrounding fortified fence is six meters wide.

In 2014, D9s were extensively in the Israeli military attack on Gaza. D9s accompanied military tanks into Gaza and destroyed buildings, orchards, agricultural fields, greenhouses and water infrastructure.  They were also used for military activities such as building rampart enclosures.

In 2013, D9s have been documented operating in the Gaza Strip. In 2008-2009, the Caterpillar D9Rs were central to the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

An earlier unmanned version based on the Caterpillar D9N model, nicknamed "Thunder of Dawn", was developed by Ramta and was operational during the Second Lebanon War and the 2008-2009 military assault on Gaza.

Pressure Cooker

The Caterpillar D9 is also used in the Israeli military's so-called “Pressure Cooker” procedure, which is an Israeli military practice used to pressure a wanted person who fortifies in a house or other structure, to come out. In such cases, the D9 is used to demolish the structure with the person still inside, even in the case of that person being killed in the process. This procedure has been used against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. This procedure is performed with Caterpillar excavators models Caterpillar D9 (L/N/R/T), Caterpillar 966 (E/F/G/H), Caterpillar 330, and Caterpillar 349.

In July 2016, Israeli forces used a Caterpillar excavator in the apparent extrajudicial execution of Muhammad al-Faqih, using Caterpillar equipment employed as a weapon in the town of Surif, near the city of Hebron. The house was demolished with al-Faqih still inside, using a Bagger E-349 Armored Caterpillar Excavator, a weaponized version of Caterpillar’s model 349E Hydraulic Excavator.

In August 2014, Israeli forces used a militarized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in an attempt to arrest 24-year-old Zakaria al-Aqra at his home in the village of Qabalan near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Al-Aqra was killed, six of his relatives were wounded and the house was badly damaged during the operation. 

West Bank

Caterpillar military wheel loaders are also used as a crowd control weapon. On 21 February 2020, a Caterpillar military bulldozer was used to attack Palestinian protesters in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum. Two protesters were injured.

Armored D9 bulldozers are used by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank to accompany military forces during invasions and military arrests in populated areas.

On 24 January 2024, a D9 bulldozer was documented during Israeli military activity in the Palestinian city of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank.

In November 2023, D9 bulldozer accompanied a military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Four Palestinians, including two children, ages 8 and 15, were killed during the raid.  

On July 24, 2023, D9 bulldozers were documented in military invasion to the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem.

On 3 July 2023, D9 bulldozers were documented causing severe damage during an Israeli military onslaught on the Jenin Refugee Camp. The D9 bulldozers were used to destroy roads, damaging all the electricity and water networks in the refugee camp.


Caterpillar track excavators and wheel loaders are also used for the demolition of Palestinian houses and infrastructure.

On 14 November 2023, Israeli soldiers destroyed a monument for Yasser Arafat using D9 at the entrance to the Tulkarem refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

On 9 June 2021, the Israeli military destroyed roads and a water pipe using a D9 bulldozer in the Masafer Yatta area in the South Hebron Hills, occupied West Bank. The military destroyed a 500-meter-long section of road leading to the community of She’b al-Batum as well as a 500-meter-long dirt road leading to Khirbet al-Mufaqarah. They also destroyed a water pipe that serves the community of al-Fakhit, where 15 families live.

On 26 July 2023, a CAT bulldozer was documented used by Israeli military to destroy irrigation system in the Palestinian village of al-Hijrah, south of Hebron. Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) personnel arrived with a military and Border Police escort, a CAT bulldozer and a cement mixer at the Palestinian village of al-Hijrah, south of Hebron. The forces poured concrete into four water wells and destroyed a roughly 20-meter-long pipe used to irrigate crops, damaging the crops themselves along the way. 

On 25 January 2023, CAT bulldozer were documented in the demolition of two agricultural structures, two solar panels and two trees belonging to a family of ten, in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Ma’in, southeast of the town of Yatta in Hebron District. ICA personnel came with a military and Border Police escort, a bulldozer and a digger, dismantled and confiscated a tent the family had put up on its land for resting during the olive harvest.

On 3 January 2023, CAT crawler digger was used by Israeli military to demolish homes of four families and an outhouse in the village of She’b al-Battem in the South Hebron Hills, leaving 36 people, 12 of them minors, homeless. Four water tanks belonging to the four families, and six smaller water tanks belonging to two of them were also destroyed.

On 24 August 2022, CAT bulldozer was used in demolitions in Wadi al-Ahmar community in the southern Jordan Valley. ICA personnel with a CAT bulldozer destroyed two inhabited tents that housed two families numbering 10 people in total, including four minors; demolished a tent used as a kitchen; a livestock enclosure; and a solar panel belonging to one of the families. Six additional residential tents uninhabited this time of the year, a livestock pen, and three tents used as livestock enclosures, which were not currently in use, were destroyed.

On 16 August 2022, A CAT bulldozer was used in demolitions in Khirbet ‘Allan in the al-Jiftlik area of the Jordan Valley. ICA personnel arrived with a military forces and demolished two prefabs and a stone room that served as two residential units of a family of 11, including seven minor children, as well as an outdoor kitchen and portable toilets. The forces also destroyed another home that housed an adult son of the same family. In addition, the forces demolished three shacks used as livestock enclosures and two tin rooms used for making cheese, and damaged two water containers and livestock pen fences.

On 2 January 2022, Caterpillar bulldozers and D9 bulldozer destroyed hundreds of dunams of wheat and barley crops in Khirbet Ibziq in the Jordan Valley. Israeli military destroyed also other fields that had been plowed in preparation for sowing. The bulldozers also created dirt mounds on farmlands and destroyed farming access roads.

In 2021, Caterpillar tools were used in demolitions of tents, solar panels, animal shelters, water tanks, roads and for blockade of agricultural roads in South Hebron Hills, and in house demolition in East Jerusalem. In June 2021, D9 bulldozer destroyed roads and a water pipe that serves 15 families who live in South Hebron Hills.

Caterpillar 938G wheel loader was used by the Israeli military for creating roadblocks and for demolishing access roads leading to Palestinian villages in the area of Qarawat Bani Hassan, as well as various locations around the South Hebron Hills.

Previously, Caterpillar tools were used in additional demolitions in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Beit Hanina and Tsur Baher in occupied East Jerusalem.

Other Caterpillar Military Engineering Tools

Other than the D9, Caterpillar supplies a variety of heavy engineering machinery to the Israeli army: various wheel loaders; 225, 245 and 330 armored excavators; and the Front Runner – a remote controlled mini loader built on the chassis of a Caterpillar MTL 257B (also known as the MiniCat) and modified by Israel Aerospace Industries into a fully remote-controlled Combat Engineering tool which is mainly in use at the Wall surrounding the besieged Gaza.

The Front Runner is another product of the fruitful collaboration between Zoko Enterprises and the Ramta Division. According to the Israeli Engineering Corps, the armored Caterpillar excavators took part in house demolitions, in the destruction of the Mukataa in Ramallah in 2002 and in the Israeli army’s 2006 raid on the Palestinian prison in Jericho.

Settlement Construction

Caterpillar’s engineering machinery was also used by civilian companies for the construction of a large number of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Revava, Maskiot, Oranit, Carmel, Elkana, Yakir and Beitar Illit in the West Bank and the Ramat Shlomo settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Caterpillar machinery was also used in various projects serving the settlements, such as road construction, the Ariel West and Barkan industrial zones, the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem high speed railway and the headquarters of the Judea and Samaria District of the Israel Police, located in the E1 area near Ma’ale Adumim settlement. The models used for these tasks are: 330B, 330BL and 936. On 4 February 2017, the company was documented paving a new settler-only road in the West Bank, the Nabi Elias bypass road. Approximately 700 olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the area are slated to be uprooted for the construction of the road.

Parts of the construction of the Separation Wall and checkpoints in the West Bank was also executed using Caterpillar heavy machinery. The company’s loaders and excavators were documented during works on the land of the Palestinian villages of Mas’ha, Al-Walaja, Qalandiya, Jayous, Ras al-Tira, Khirbet Jbara and Wadi a-Rasha and during the construction of the Anabta and Qalandiya checkpoints. The models used for these tasks are: 330C, 330CL, 345B, 345D, 936 and D10N.


In January 2022, Caterpillar bulldozers were used in an afforestation project of the Jewish National Fund, taking place on the lands of the village of Sa’we al-Atrash in the Naqab. The project is part of ongoing attempts, implemented jointly by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Israel’s Land Authority. For more on this project and others being implemented in the Naqab read our interactive report dispossession and displacement of Palestinian Bedouin communities in the area.

Caterpillar machinery was also used in the repeated demolitions in Al-Araqib unrecognized village in the Naqab, that has been demolished by the Israeli authorities and rebuilt by its residents more than a hundred times in the last few years. Also in this case, the village residents are facing displacement in the face of an afforestation project by the JNF. Caterpillar bulldozers with JNF logo were documented in the village.