Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jerusalem Light Rail: Enforcing Apartheid, Occupation, and Theft of Land

Derail Veolia and Alstom
Source: BDS Movement

Veolia and Alstom are two French multinational companies helping to build and operate the Jerusalem Light Rail which links illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory with Israel. The tramway is explicitly designed to literally cement Israel’s grip on the illegal settlements and tie them more firmly into the state of Israel.

Veolia also operates other settlement infrastructure projects. It runs bus services for Israeli settlers on settler-only roads linking the settlements with Israel. These roads have decimated Palestinian towns and villages by stealing their land for construction and cutting them off from each other. Through its subsidiary TMM, Veolia also collects refuse from illegal settlements at buries it at the illegal Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley.

As a result of the global campaign to Derail Veolia and Alstom, financial institutions across Europe have sold their shares in the two companies and public authorities in the UK, France, Sweden, Australia and beyond have excluded them from bidding on public contracts.

In late 2010 and early 2011 Veolia and Alstom both announced that they would sell their shares in the Jerusalem Light Rail. Nevertheless, the two companies will continue to profit from the scheme for years to come and the pressure on them must continue until such time as they admit responsibility for their actions, provide reparations to their Palestinian victims and be held accountable for their gross complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

That two international corporations with multi-billion Euro turnovers have been forced to withdraw from a project that they have funnelled considerable resources into defending is an important signal of the strength and moral weight of the BDS movement. The fact that both Veolia and Alstom are being replaced by Israeli companies rather than more experienced international companies, who surely would have been preferable replacements in the eyes of the Israeli authorities, indicates that no international companies are willing to become targets of the highly effective and visible BDS movement. It is important to extend the Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign and continue to send a clear message that people of conscience all over the world will not stand by while corporations aid and abet Israeli war crimes.

Jerusalem Light Rail:

"aicvideo on May 11, 2011

In 2006 the construction for the Jerusalem Light Rail began. By June 2010 the rail track for the 23 stations of Line 1, which is supposed to start working in August 2011, was laid. The Line leads from Mount Herzl in West Jerusalem to Pisgat Ze'ev, the largest Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, thus silently crossing the Green Line and contributing to the normalization of the occupation of East Jerusalem.

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