The Egyptian public was outraged to learn from Le Monde Diplomatique February edition that Alstom company (which currently constructs Apartheid Railway in Jerusalem) won a $23 million tender from the Egyptian government for the new Cairo metro line. An Egyptian engineer decided to bring the Egyptian ministry of transport to court (for more on the tramline project in Jerusalem, see: http://stopthewall.org/factsheets/1047.shtml).
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a “peace” agreement with Israel in 1979 and since then has continued rhetoric invoking justice for Palestine while at the same time opening is doors to economic cooperation with and support to the Apartheid State. However, Egyptian public opinion has never accepted the complicity of their leaders with the occupation of Palestine.
The announcement of the contracts granted to Alstom comes at a time when official Egyptian rhetoric creates a diplomatic crisis over a film showing the now-Occupation Government Minister of National Infrastructure, Ben-Eliezer, executing Egyptian soldiers during the ’67 war. Although Ben-Eliezer’s trip to Egypt was cancelled, Alstom found open doors.
At the same time, in France, the Association France Palestine begins judicial action against Alstom and Connex/Veolia to obtain a legal injunction that forces the companies to comply with international law and to cancel their signed contracts with the Occupation.
Full text of an article published at: http://kassioun.org/?d=36&id=198674 (translation: stopthewall):
Le Monde Diplomatique Denounces Ministry of Transportation
French company involved in the apartheid tram in Jerusalem builds third metro in Cairo
The French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique revealed information about Israeli plans to build a tram line that will run parallel to the Apartheid Walls around Jerusalem as part of the Judaization of Jerusalem and to separate Arabs and Zionists in Jerusalem. The French newspaper pointed out that the French company Alstom was being chosen to implement the construction of the apartheid tram in its February 2007 edition.
Shockingly, the same company was also chosen by the Egyptian government to build Cairo’s third metro line, upsetting Egyptian citizens and prompting one of them to file a complaint with the Attorney General to cancel the contract.
This citizen, engineer Amro Ahmad Ra’ouf from Cairo, highlighted in his complaint that the French companies Alstom and Connex are constructing the tram in Jerusalem whose main goal is to connect the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem with West Jerusalem. This in turn facilitates the development and expansion of the Israeli settlements. It will further contribute to the closure imposed on East Jerusalem, a first step within the annexation process and also to the total isolation of East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Further, he pointed out that building such a tram line will confiscate huge amounts of Palestinian lands. This is the reason for which in the complaint Amro Ra’ouf has asked the government to cancel all its contracts with the companies and not to pay any financial compensations as the companies violate international law that states the illegality of support to occupation authorities in annexing the land of the occupied. He also asked to stop any future dealing with these two companies.
The Minister of Transportation, Muhammad Mansour, previously announced that four international companies and other Egyptian companies had been chosen to begin Phase 1 of the third metro line. The results of the tender had granted traffic signs, communications and central control to the French company Alstom Alcatel, amounting to a total of 23 million Euro. Another French company with three other Egyptian companies jointly signed contracts worth €81 million. Le Monde Diplomatique considers the French company’s construction of the apartheid tram in contradiction with French official foreign policies, which are against Israeli colonization and the Apartheid Wall.
The newspaper quoted the minister of foreign affairs, Philippe Douste-Blazy, as saying that the participation of French companies in such an international tender is not a sign of a change in the well-known French foreign policy on Jerusalem. However, the newspaper argued that this statement is just an ambiguous play of words. Nasr Al-Khudweh [at that time Foreign minister of the PNA] didn’t find Douste-Blazy’s statement helpful enough. Instead, Al-Khudwe says in a January 2006 letter to Alstom’s General Director, Patrick Crone, Alstom is complicit in the Israeli apartheid tram project, which is not simply an international trade project. Al-Khudweh believes that important dimensions of the agreement are overlooked by Douste-Blazy, such as the fact that assisting Israel in illegal colonization activities in and around East Jerusalem is a means of legitimization.
The irony is that in March 2006 in Khartoum, the Arab League condemned the construction of the illegal tram and called on Alstom and Connex to withdraw immediately from this project to avoid reprisal of Arab countries. It also called on the French government to take a position, to rise to their responsibilities and act according to international law. This measure nonetheless resulted in the Egyptian government shirking its responsibilities and granting contracts to Alstom as a reward for its support of Israel, helping to devour what is left of Arab Jerusalem.
Even if the French government and its ministries have become drunk from the fumes of profit and thus close an eye on the French companies’ participation in this illegal project, not attempting to stop or punish these companies, then it is as the legal expert Monique Shumblier said: the Egyptian government’s position should at minimum be not to allow those companies to enter the tenders of this huge Egyptian project. And if Le Monde Diplomatique had the guts to blame the French ministry (which attended the party Ariel Sharon threw in his office to celebrate the contract), what words do we have to describe the position of the Egyptian Minister of Transportation who himself signed the contract with this company that supports the Judaization of Jerusalem?
The colored advertisements and banners that are distributed on the walls of Jerusalem and promote the tram in this city show the pictures of the terrorist Theodor Herzl in a thoughtful posture. This is nothing less that an advertisement to announce the achievement of Herzl’s dream symbolized by the tram line in Jerusalem – one of core tools of the Zionist aggression aimed at finalizing the Judaziation of Jerusalem and the racist disengagement. It is a final proof for anyone who still doubts that Israel is using this project as part of its well known policies of occupation, colonization and land confiscation.