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Caterpillar Inc. shareholders soundly rejected a resolution that would have directed the heavy equipment manufacturer to investigate the use of its bulldozers by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes.

The resolution -- which the company said at its annual meeting Wednesday in Chicago was defeated 97 percent to 3 percent -- stated that Israel has used Caterpillar equipment to destroy more than 3,000 homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2000.

It was introduced by four Roman Catholic orders of nuns and Jewish Voice for Peace.

In Western New York, about 20 pickets marched outside the Caterpillar dealership at 2140 Military Road in Tonawanda on Wednesday morning, an organizer of the protest said.

Managers of the Milton-Cat dealership met with protesters but refused to sign a letter calling for an investigation of the use of Caterpillar equipment, said Colin Eager of the Western New York Peace Center.

"We'll be back -- this will be an ongoing thing," he said.

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