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In an unprecedented victory to a public campaign led by Palestinian, German and Israeli groups, the German firm Deutsche Bahn International has been pulled off an Israeli railway project by a decision of the German Federal Government. The Israeli railway line is being built between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, unlawfully crossing into occupied Palestinian territory in two areas, at a great cost to the neighboring Palestinian communities.
The international campaign was launched six months ago following an investigation by the Israeli research group “Who Profits from the Occupation” of the Coalition of Women for Peace. The “Who Profits” report shows the route of the new train line and the involvement of several European companies in its construction on occupied Palestinian land.
A letter from the German Transport Ministry was released last week, stating that “The federal government pointed out [to Deutsche Bahn] that the project of the Israeli state railway is problematic from a foreign policy point of view and potentially breaches international law.” The letter added that the German operator confirmed “in writing” that there would be no further involvement of its international subsidiary in “this politically very sensitive project”.
Prominent among the other European companies involved in the planning and construction of the new train line is the private Italian company Pizzarotti which handles much of the tunneling. A wide coalition of Italian organizations has appealed to the company to back out of this illegal project. The Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace has called upon other governments to follow the example of the German Government and regulate corporate involvement in international law violations in the occupied West Bank.
See below some recent news reports about this breakthrough:
- Deutsche Bahn pulls out of Israel project, The Financial Times.
- German railway nixes Israel rail project, The Israel Daily YNET.
- German State Rail Backs Out of Israeli Train through the Occupied Territories, Change.org.
- Deutsche Bahn pulls out of illegal A1 rail project, BDS Movement.
Now, more then ever, corporations are held accountable in Europe for their involvement in illegal occupation profiteering. It is our job to hold them accountable in the US too. Join us this weekend in DC, with over a hundred other organizations at the Move Over AIPAC conference to build a new US Middle East Policy! The gathering will expose AIPAC’s negative influence on U.S. foreign policy and promote an alternative approach that respects the rights of all people in the region. I will be there leading workshops about divestment and effective campaigns in the U.S. Join us!