BNC Statement

Beit Surik and Stop the Wall thank Rho city council for condeming Pizzarotti for Complicity with Israeli Apartheid

December 19, 2011
For background on the issue, this is from a recent Press release from the Italian Coalition Stop That Train:On 30 November, the City Council of Rho, in the province of Milan, approved a resolution expressing “moral and political condemnation of Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. for its participation in the project for the construction of the A1 Jerusalem – Tel Aviv railway”.Pizzarotti is a contractor for the Israeli project for the new A1 high-speed railway that will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

For background on the issue, this is from a recent Press release from the Italian Coalition Stop That Train:On 30 November, the City Council of Rho, in the province of Milan, approved a resolution expressing “moral and political condemnation of Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. for its participation in the project for the construction of the A1 Jerusalem – Tel Aviv railway”.Pizzarotti is a contractor for the Israeli project for the new A1 high-speed railway that will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The new railway cuts through the occupied Palestinian territories for 6.5 km in clear violation of international law and human rights, including illegal Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land in the villages of Beit Iksa and Beit Sourik. In addition, the logistics center and road network for the massive tunnel boring machines and the transport of material from the tunnels excavated by Pizzarotti are causing the destruction of ancient olive groves and agricultural land recognized by the Israeli Supreme Court as a “fundamental resource for subsistence” for the communities. Art. 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the occupying power from destroying real or personal property except in cases of absolute military necessity. Read more

The municipal council of Beit Surik, a village in the Jerusalem district of the West Bank, wrote the following letter to thank the City Council of Rho for their solidarity:

To whom it may concern, AS municipal council of Beit Surik we are writing to express our deep gratitude to the decision of the municipal council of Rho to morally and politically condemn the Italian company Pizzarotti for their continued involvement in the Israeli A1 train project.We declare our objection to the proposed route of the Jerusalem – Tel Aviv train line, which passes through land belonging to the village of Beit Surik, in the district of Jerusalem in the West Bank.The proposed route of the train line passes through agricultural land that even the Supreme Court of Israel ruled necessary to be preserved as part of Beit Surik for the wellbeing of the village population as part of a ruling regarding the construction of the Apartheid Wall on our land.This train line will bring inconvenience and suffering to the village in terms of the lost land and in noise pollution, without any benefits, as the train is to connect areas that village resisdents with West Bank ID cards are not allowed to enter.Beit Surik was successful in challenging the route of the apartheid wall that surrounds the village, when the Supreme Court of Israel “ordered that the route of sections of a wall in the area of Judea and Samaria ("the West Bank") be changed in order to avoid unnecessary hardship to the local Palestinian population.” (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,ISR_SC,,ISR,,4374ac594,0.html)

The village nonetheless lost 3000 dunams of land through the construction of the wall. The proposed train line threatens to take away 3000 dunams more.We understand that people of the Israeli settlement Mevaseret Zion appealed in 2005 to distance the planned route from their habitation due to noise pollution. It is unacceptable that this railway is planned on the land recovered by the village. This stands as a direct challenge to that court ruling.Moreover, under International Law, the Israeli state has no right to determine the use of land of the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank. This proposal seems intended as a broader demonstration that despite the ruling of Israeli courts, the Israeli government will nonetheless flaunt both international and its own laws to colonize Palestinian land as part of the Zionist project.We urge that this proposal be modified. The train line should be constructed on land that has already been appropriated from West Bank villages, now lying on the Israeli side of the Green Line as the service is exclusively for Israeli use and benefit. We, the people of Beit Surik, do not want the rail line to be built on our land. We see this of fundamental significance for the people of the world to support our right to decide on the use of our own land and we appeal to all to help us to stop this train.
Signed: Village Council,Beit Surik, occupied Palestine

The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall) also wrote a letter to express their gratitude to Rho's City Council. The letter can be dowloaded here.

Occupied Palestine, December 16 2011
December 19, 2011
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