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[Boycott - Euro News]

Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign triumph over French multinational involved in Israeli tram project


Ma'an News Agency
17 March 2007

This tramline, like the Apartheid Wall, is an integral component of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem.


The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has successfully exerted pressure on an Irish transport organisation, Veolia, leading them to cancel a contract to train Israeli drivers for a light railway system in East Jerusalem. The railway system will link several Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem; the settlements include Pisgat Ze’ev, French Hill, Neve Ya’akov and Gilo.

Veolia is a constituent of Connex, the rail company that is currently building the tramline in East Jerusalem. Connex was awarded the $500 million US contract to build and operate Jerusalem's light rail system.

Connex was awarded the $500 million US contract to build and operate the tramline in East Jerusalem


Israel had been holding negotiations with Veolia to train Israeli engineers and drivers on the Dublin Luas tramline system. But Irish trade union representatives, in response to the IPSC, exerted pressure on Veolia to withdraw from the proposed project.

British charity, War on Want, reported an IPSC spokesperson as saying that: "This is a small but significant victory for the Palestinian right to self-determination. This tramline, like the Apartheid Wall, is an integral component of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. You would expect a tramline to be fairly innocuous, but the lesson is no: when you do business with Israel, you invariably do business with the Occupation. Veolia clearly understand that there is a growing awareness of this within Irish society. People are realising that diplomacy has utterly failed to curb Israeli crimes. We must cut ties with Israel in order to force it to end its Occupation,"

Veolia [Connex in Ireland] acknowledge that the Israeli line is illegal and unsupportable. Yet it is they who are building it! The hypocrisy is inexcusable..


The spokesperson further stated, “Veolia’s position, however, is extraordinary. In cancelling this contract, Veolia acknowledge that the Israeli line is illegal and unsupportable. Yet it is they who are building it! The hypocrisy is inexcusable, and their attempts to deny that they bowed to pressure are laughable. Since the Minister for Transport and the Railway Procurement Agency have ultimate control over who runs the Luas, the IPSC now calls on Martin Cullen and the RPA to cancel Veolia’s contract unless they cease building this illegal tramline on occupied Palestinian territory.”

The IPSC concluded by stating that: "If human rights groups and Palestinian solidarity campaigns can ensure that no country will train Israeli engineers and drivers, then perhaps we can help to 'derail' this criminal project entirely."

Source: http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=20399

*Note that while the article appeared in Ma'an News in March 2007, the IPSC victory over Veolia was in August 2006



Irish Connex cancels contract under pressure from trade unions


War On Want / IPSC



Veolia Transport Ireland (formerly known as Connex) has cancelled a contract where Dublin's Luas light rail system (run by Veolia Transport) would be used to train Israeli drivers for the illegal light railway system being built in Jerusalem, linking the city to the illegal settlements of East Jerusalem.

Defeat for Connex: Irish tramline forced to cancel deal with its illegal Israeli counterpart.



Veolia (Connex) building
illegal Israeli tramline

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is delighted to announce a small but significant victory in the international struggle against Connex and the illegal Israeli tramline being built by them on occupied Palestinian territory.

Connex (who in Ireland now operate under the name Veolia) also run the "Luas", Dublin's light-rail system. The Luas has only been running for a few years and it is likely that the tramline currently being built by Connex in occupied East Jerusalem is a near identical system. For this reason, representatives from Israel had been in negotiations with Veolia Ireland to have Israeli engineers and drivers trained on the Dublin Luas, with a view to then operating the illegal tramline in Jerusalem. The training was due to begin next month, and a contract was being finalised.

But in recent days, Veolia has been forced to cancel the proposed deal with its Israeli counterpart following pressure from Irish trade union representatives, in turn responding to overtures from the IPSC.

An IPSC spokesperson stated: "This is a small but significant victory for the Palestinian right to self-determination. This tramline, like the Apartheid Wall, is an integral component of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. You would expect a tramline to be fairly innocuous, but the lesson is no: when you do business with Israel, you invariably do business with the Occupation. Veolia clearly understand that there is a growing awareness of this within Irish society. People are realising that diplomacy has utterly failed to curb Israeli crimes. We must cut ties with Israel in order to force it to end its Occupation,"

The spokesperson further stated, “Veolia’s position, however, is extraordinary. In cancelling this contract, Veolia acknowledge that the Israeli line is illegal and unsupportable. Yet it is they who are building it! The hypocrisy is inexcusable, and their attempts to deny that they bowed to pressure are laughable. Since the Minister for Transport and the Railway Procurement Agency have ultimate control over who runs the Luas, the IPSC now calls on Martin Cullen and the RPA to cancel Veolia’s contract unless they cease building this illegal tramline on occupied Palestinian territory.”

The tramline being built by Connex/Veolia will run between Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. The settlements, which have been built on annexed Palestinian land, are illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention, and are recognised as such by the Irish government. If completed, the Israeli tramline will permanently link Jewish-only settlements such as Pisgat Ze’ev, French Hill, Neve Ya’akov and Gilo, to Israeli West Jerusalem, thereby cementing Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, and ensuring that there can never be a Palestinian state.

The IPSC had initially learned that a delegation from Israel was in Dublin last month to inspect the Luas. Subsequently, it has emeged that Veolia have hosted three Israeli visits to Dublin in the last eighteen months. The IPSC will ensure that there will be no further cooperation between the Dublin Luas and the Jerusalem tram, and indeed we will step up our campaign for the Irish government to cancel Veolia’s contract. However, the IPSC would also stress that we were completely unaware of the previous two visits from Israel. We thus urge solidarity campaigns, in countries where Connex operates, to contact the relevant unions and determine whether any support or assistance is being given to the Israeli tramline. Clearly, the Israeli drivers and engineers must get training from somewhere, and soon, if they are to operate this line in occupied East Jerusalem. This campaign thus has great potential. If human rights groups and Palestinian solidarity campaigns can ensure that no country will train Israeli engineers and drivers, then perhaps we can help to “derail” this criminal project entirely.

Source: http://www.waronwant.org/Irish+Connex+cancels+contract+under+pressure+from+trade+unions.+12900.twl


Connex Ireland forced to cancel contract with Occupation


Worldwide Activism, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
2006-08-19

In a significant victory in the international campaign against the Connex built illegal tramline in occupied Jerusalem, Connex has been forced to cancel plans to train Israeli engineers and drivers on Dublin’s Luas light railway.

All Palestinian solidarity campaigns in countries where Connex or the Veolia Group operates are urged to contact the relevant unions and determine whether any support or assistance is being given to the Israeli tramline.


Connex, which operates under the name Veolia in Ireland, has been operating the Luas system since 2004, and it is likely that the tramline under construction between the colonies in Jerusalem is very similar. For this reason, representatives from Israel had been in negotiations with Veolia Ireland to have Israeli engineers and drivers trained on the Dublin Luas, with a view to them operating the illegal tramline in Jerusalem. The training was due to begin in September, and a contract was being finalised.

Due to sustained pressure from Irish Palestinian Solidarity activists working together with Irish trade union representatives Veolia has been forced to cancel the proposed contract with its Israeli counterpart, Citypass. French based Connex and Alstom are the international investors in the Citypass consortium that won a 500 million Euro tender put out by the Israeli authorities in 2002 for a light rail transport system in Jerusalem. The path of the light railway incorporates a number of illegal Occupation settlements such as Pisgat Ze'ev, French Hill, Neve Ya'akov and Gilo, ensuring the contiguity of these colonies with the central areas of the city. The project boasts that the “Ammunition Hill” station of the network will operate as the feeder station for the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and the Jordan valley. The financial backing of the French companies for the project contradicts international law including the 4th Geneva Convention which recognizes the illegality of the Zionist’s regime’s settlements.

According to a recent Jerusalem Post report a ‘depot’ has already been established at the French Hills intersection, over a quarter of the materials used in laying the tracks have been delivered as has the ‘Eppitrack’, a heavy vehicle especially designed for the laying of tracks. The first tracks are expected to be laid in early 2007.

40 Swiss activists from Collectif Urgence Palestine took direct action against Connex by blocking a Connex shuttle bus at a car exhibition in Geneva. They occupied the “Dupraz Bus-Connex” and displayed banners to highlight the “Tramway of Apartheid”


An IPSC (Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign) spokesperson stated: "This is a small but significant victory for the Palestinian right to self-determination. This tramline, like the Apartheid Wall, is an integral component of Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem. You would expect a tramline to be fairly innocuous, but the lesson is no: when you do business with Israel, you invariably do business with the Occupation. Veolia clearly understand that there is a growing awareness of this within Irish society. People are realising that diplomacy has utterly failed to curb Israeli crimes. We must cut ties with Israel in order to force it to end its Occupation".

The spokesperson called on the Irish authorities to comply with their responsibilities under international law: "Veolia's position, however, is extraordinary. In cancelling this contract, Veolia acknowledge that the Israeli line is illegal and unsupportable. Yet it is they who are building it! The hypocrisy is inexcusable, and their attempts to deny that they bowed to pressure are laughable. Since the Minister for Transport and the Railway Procurement Agency have ultimate control over who runs the Luas, the IPSC now calls on Martin Cullen and the RPA to cancel Veolia's contract unless they cease building this illegal tramline on occupied Palestinian territory."

The IPSC had initially learned that a delegation from Israel was in Dublin last month to inspect the Luas. Subsequently, it has emerged that Veolia have hosted three Israeli visits to Dublin in the last eighteen months. The IPSC will ensure that there will be no further cooperation between the Dublin Luas and the Jerusalem tram, and vows to step up its campaign for the Irish government to cancel Veolia's contract. However, the IPSC also stresses that they were completely unaware of the previous two visits from Israel.

All Palestinian solidarity campaigns in countries where Connex or the Veolia Group operates are urged to contact the relevant unions and determine whether any support or assistance is being given to the Israeli tramline. The Israeli engineers and drivers have to get training from somewhere if they are to begin operating this line in illegally occupied East Jerusalem. If human rights groups and Palestinian solidarity campaigns can ensure that no country will train Israeli engineers and drivers, then perhaps we can help to "derail" this criminal project entirely.

In March this year around 40 Swiss activists from Collectif Urgence Palestine took direct action against Connex by blocking a Connex shuttle bus at a car exhibition in Geneva. They occupied the “Dupraz Bus-Connex” and displayed banners to highlight the “Tramway of Apartheid”.

Connex is part of the Veolia group which has significant investments in privatised services in 24 countries with around 56,000 employees. Alstom is a smaller player with about 28,000 employees and is a major player in the production of trains and rolling stock.

Source: http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/1277.shtml



Irish union refusing to train Israeli tram drivers


Reports by Prof. James Bowen and Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
2006-08-21

This afternoon (Fri, 18 August), John Flannery, the trade union official [for SIPTU] who represents the drivers on the Dublin tram system, confirmed to me that the Dublin drivers will not allow the Dublin system to be used to train drivers for the new tram system in the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. “It’s not going to happen”, he said, adding that he was happy to be quoted on this.

The French company, Connex, through its Irish subsidiary, Veolia Transport Ireland, operates the Dublin tram system (which is called the Luas) on behalf of the Railway Procurement Agency, the Irish authority responsible for the procurement of railway infrastructure. Connex has also won a contract to operate a new tram system which is being built to service the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and proposes to use the Dublin system to train the drivers for the East Jerusalem system.

No official announcement has been made. The drivers were given only unoffical news of the plan to train the Jerusalem drivers in Dublin and Mr. Flannery told me that the trade union officials had also only given an unofficial reaction to the company management. However, he was quite adamant that the Dublin drivers will not allow the Israeli drivers to be trained in Dublin.

The chief executive of Veolia Transport Ireland is currently on holiday, so it is probable that Connex will not make any attempt to further their plans until he returns.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has already successfully convinced several cultural event organizers to reject and return Israeli government sponsorship, will be supporting this excellent stance from the Dublin tram drivers.

Prof. James Bowen
Computer Science
UCC, Cork
Ireland

Source: http://www.labournet.net/world/0608/tram1.html


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