MPPM denounces the Carris contract with a company benefitting from the occupation of Palestine by Israel

MPPM – the Portuguese Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East denounces the  purchase by Lisbon transport company Carris of fifteen articulated trams to the multinational CAF, which is involved in the construction and operation of the Jerusalem Light Rail, an instrument of the consolidation of Israel's colonial rule in the city.

It was recently announced that a contract has been signed between Carris, a company wholly owned by the municipality of Lisbon, and CAF, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, SA, a multinational company based in the Spanish Basque Country, to supply fifteen articulated trams beginning in 2023.

CAF is associated with the Israeli company Shapir in the TransJerusalem J-Net consortium, which already had a contract for the expansion of the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) network and which has now been awarded a  15-year concession on the  operation and expansion of the JLR network. Shapir is listed in the United Nations’ database of companies  that do business with illegal Israeli settlements.

Since occupying East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has been expanding the  boundaries of the municipality, whose area has multiplied fortyfold, and intensifying settlement construction and the expulsion of the Palestinian population.

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the occupying power from permanently altering the demography or infrastructure of the occupied territory. The expulsion of the Palestinian population, the installation of Israeli settlers and the destruction of Palestinian property are crimes under international humanitarian law.

The light rail consolidates Israel’s colonial project, linking West Jerusalem to  illegal settlements, built in occupied Palestinian territory outside the boundaries of the 1949 armistice green line,  such as Ramat Shomo and Ramot to the north, Pisgat Zeev and Neve Ya'akov to the northeast, Givat Ha-Matos and Gilo to the south, and the Mount Scopus complex to the east.

To expand the network, expropriations and demolitions will be carried out in Palestinian housing areas, namely in Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood that recently mobilized international solidarity  outraged by the arbitrary and brutal Israeli intervention.

At its 43rd session, held between February 24 and March 23, 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed «its grave concern» and called for «the cessation of the operation by Israel of a tramway linking the settlements with West Jerusalem, which is in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.

MPPM considers that Portuguese companies should refrain from doing business with companies that, due to their participation in economic activity in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967, are compromised with the criminal activity of this State.

MPPM regrets that Israel continues to benefit from favorable treatment by national and European bodies that do not take into account its history of oppression of the Palestinian people and repeated violation of international law. Thus, it urges that:

- The Government of Portugal recognize the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, drawing from this all diplomatic consequences;

- The Government of Portugal, in its relations with the State of Israel, fully comply with the obligations imposed on it by the Constitution of the Republic and the international treaties and conventions to which it is a party (*), namely by condemning the - repeatedly considered illegal - policy of building and expanding settlements;

- The Assembly of the Republic [Portuguese Parliament] legislate to prohibit Portuguese individual or collective entities from benefiting or establishing contracts with those who benefit from the economic exploitation of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967;

- The European Union implement its proclaimed policy of respect for human rights in trade relations, taking into account the numerous reports by the United Nations and international organizations that document Israel's repeated violation of Palestinian human rights.

June 3, 2021

The National Directorate of MPPM

(*) Namely:

  • Hague Convention – 1907 (ratified: 1911)
  • Fourth Geneva Convention (ratified: 1961)
  • Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (accessed: 9 Feb 1999)
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (accessed: 24 Aug 1982)
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed: 4 Feb 1985; ratified: 9 Feb 1989)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed: 26 Jan 1990; ratified: 21 Sep 1990)
  • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (accessed: 22 Dec 1960)

Portugal has not adhered to the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid

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