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Green Left Weekly | August 16, 2006

Activists call for boycott of Connex

In 2002, the French companies Connex and Alstom, international investors in Melbourne’s Citypass Consortium, won a 30-year tender to operate a light-rail system between illegal Israeli settlements around Jerusalem. The contract is worth about 500 million Euros.

For years, Connex has been supporting the Israeli government through investments in various bus operations. However, its involvement in the light-rail network puts it in the front-line of Israel’s occupation of Palestine as it will connect a number of settlements in East Jerusalem, built on stolen Palestinian land, with the city centre. The rail network will help sustain and integrate the settlements.

Along with the apartheid-like wall, occupation roads, tunnels and checkpoints, these rail links will divide up Palestinian communities into smaller and smaller isolated ghettos. The rail links will be built on Palestinian land, tearing apart communities, restricting their travel and forcing them to live as prisoners. Linking the settlements with the city while bypassing Palestinian areas will also contribute to the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem. As such, it is a violation of international law and the Geneva convention.

But this is of no concern to Israel’s rulers. In the consortium’s opening ceremony in August 2005, former prime minister Ariel Sharon stated: “I believe that this should be done, and in any event, anything that can be done to strengthen Jerusalem, construct it, expand it and sustain it for eternity as the capital of the Jewish people and the united capital of the State of Israel, should be done”. The occupation’s mayor, Uri Lupolianski, described the light rail to be “the fulfilment of Psalm 122”.

A number of Palestinian groups have called for an international boycott of Connex and Alstom. The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign wants campaigners to “use all forms of popular pressure, protest and boycotts against [Connex and Alstom], until they end their support for the Israeli project to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem”.

Activists from the Socialist Alliance and Melbourne Palestine Solidarity Network have responded to this call, launching a campaign demanding the Victorian government cancel its contract with Connex, which operates the entire metropolitan network, and to re-nationalise the train system. Connex also operates buses in Perth (Southern Coast Transit), Brisbane, Sydney and the light-rail and monorail networks under contract from Metro Transport in Sydney.

For more information, contact Melbourne Palestine Solidarity Network at [email]melbourne.palestine@gmail.com[/email] or visit [url=http://stopthewall.org/factsheets/1047.shtml]http://stopthewall.org/factsheets/1047.shtml[/url]

From Green Left Weekly, August 16, 2006.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2006/679/679p5b.htm

Posted on 13-08-2006


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