News

Italian Town Councils take a stand for Palestinian rights, oppose companies violating international law

Province of Bologna: Sasso Marconi votes against the participation of Pizzarotti & C. Spa in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed railway that crosses the occupied Palestinian territories. Medicina commits to take measures to prevent relationships with companies that violate international law.

As the Israeli government continues unabated in its violations of international law, announcing plans for the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in the West Bank in response to Palestine obtaining recognition as an observer to the UN, two Italian town councils take concrete steps to hold complicit companies accountable.

Following Rho (Milan), Naples, Corchiano (Viterbo)[1], the Town Council of Sasso Marconi, in the province of Bologna, voted to condemn Pizzarotti & C. Spa for the company’s participation in the high-speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Pizzarotti, in partnership with Israeli company Shapir, was contracted by the Israeli Railways for the construction of a section of the railway that crosses the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.[2]

The motion, approved November 28, 2012, expresses moral and political condemnation for the construction of the railway in violation of international law and calls on Pizzarotti to withdraw from the project, following the example of German railways Deutsche Bahn. The motion also calls on the Italian Government to make a formal request to the state of Israel to respect international law and commits the Mayor and his administration to consider the possibility of including a clause in the city’s procurement regulations providing for exclusion of companies and economic entities operating in violation of human rights or international law.[3]

The Town Council of Medicina voted a motion the previous day condemning the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people. The motion called on the Italian Government and Parliament to support the Palestinian bid for recognition as a “non-member State” of the UN and to commit to “ending the siege on Gaza, stopping Israel’s colonial expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and demolishing the Wall.” In addition, the Town Council pledged to “urgently evaluate policy measures designed to avoid relationships between the City of Medicina and companies operating in Israel in violation of international treaties and UN resolutions.”[4]

The stands taken by Bologna province town councils are an important example of actions furthering respect for human rights and international law in Palestine as advocated by the Stop That Train Coalition[5], which launched a campaign to stop illegal activities in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway. The “Pizzarotti Free Cities” initiative[6] aims to ensure that the company is excluded from public contracts as long as it is complicit in violations of Palestinian rights.

Stop That Train is part of BDS Italia, a movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, made up of associations and groups throughout Italy endorsing the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society promoting BDS campaigns and initiatives on the national and local level.[7]

We thank the councils of Sasso Marconi and Medicina for this important contribution to peace and justice in Palestine.

Stop That Train Coalition

E-Mail: fermarequeltreno@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fermiamoqueltreno

BDS Italia

E-mail: bdsitalia@gmail.com

Website: www.bdsitalia.org

Facebook: facebook.com/BDSItalia

Twitter: @bdsitalia

Notes:

[1] Text of the resolutions approved: http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-pizzarotti

[2] See “Crossing the line: A New Israeli Train Line Through Occupied Palestinian Areas”, http://www.whoprofits.org/sites/default/files/Train%20A1.pdf

[3] See text of motion: http://bdsitalia.org/images/stories/pdfs/odg_stop_that_train_sasso_marconi.pdf

[4] See text of motion: http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-pizzarotti/566-medicina

[5] See the call: http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagne/stop-that-train

[6] See: http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/iniziative-pizzarotti/364-pizzarotti-free

[7] See: http://www.bdsitalia.org

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