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Pro-Palestinian French group appeals to stop Jerusalem tram
Ali Waked, Yedioth
15 March 2007
Organization tries to obtain legal injunction stopping 2 French companies from building Jerusalem tram claiming project violates interests of Palestinians in 'occupied Jerusalem'
The tram will turn the settlements that are located close to Jerusalem into Jewish neighborhoods of the city, facilitating transport to and from these settlements and encouraging more people to live there.
The move will also create Israeli strongholds in Arab parts of Jerusalem, will prevent their neighborhood developing and will isolate the east Jerusalem neighborhoods from the West bank.
The project will also expropriate dozens of acres of land from Arabs
A French-Palestinian organization is taking two French companies involved in the light-rail project in Jerusalem to court, claiming that "the project is aimed at connecting between occupied Jerusalem and the Israeli settlements in west Jerusalem."
The judicial action is being brought against the two companies, Alstom and Veolia, based on a clause in the French law allowing the court to cancel any agreement that could violate public peace and good intentions.
The organization claims that the tram would violate the interests of Palestinians in "occupied Jerusalem," breaching international law. It is requesting the court's intervention in immediately annulling the contracts between the French companies and Israel.
In 2005 the contract to build the train was signed with City Pass consortium comprising of renowned train manufacturer Alstom, operating company Connex's subsidiary Veolia, the Israeli Construction and Infrastructures company Ashtrom and Israel's Polar Investments.
The French organization claimed that Israel was exploiting international and regional crises to create a new permanent reality in Jerusalem and its vicinity, expanding the settlements, building the separation fence and constructing the light rail.
'Rail line will be used by all residents of Jerusalem'
According to the prosecutors, the tram is meant to "turn the settlements that are located close to Jerusalem into Jewish neighborhoods of the city, facilitating transport to and from these settlements and encouraging more people to live there."
Alstom & Veolia building an
illegal tramline in Jerusalem
They explained that the move will also create Israeli strongholds in Arab parts of Jerusalem, will prevent their neighborhood developing and will isolate the east Jerusalem neighborhoods from the West bank. The project will expropriate dozens of acres of land from Arabs, they said.
The Organization is appealing to the international community to prevent the project from being realized in its current plan and to ensure that no company contributes to this "breach of international law."
City Pass group Spokesman Itsho Gur said in response: "The light rail is a component of the new transport infrastructure of the city, aimed at providing a solution to the transportation congestion in Jerusalem."
He added that City Pass was going to build the first light-rail line that will be used by all residents of Jerusalem – Jews, Muslims and Christians – without regard to race, creed or gender.
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