RAMALLAH, May 10 (JMCC) - The German rail company Deutsche Bahn has pulled out of an Israeli project building a light rail train that passes in part through the occupied Palestinian territories, reports the Financial Times
The move comes after pressure from Palestinian activists and their supporters, as well as the German government itself.
Campaigners were angered by the activities of Deutsche Bahn’s international consulting arm, which provided advice on the electrification of the new track linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The high-speed line, due to be completed by 2017, has attracted sharp criticism from Palestinian officials because a 6-km stretch cuts through the West Bank.
Opponents said the project was illegal because it used occupied Palestinian territory for a project that would be used primarily, or solely, by Israeli citizens. They also argued that the new line could have easily been built on Israeli territory alone, making land confiscations in the West Bank unnecessary.
Deutsche Bahn, which is state-owned, declined to comment on the reasons for the pull-out but said: “We told Israel Railways in February that we would not provide further services for this particular project.”
The German government reportedly sent a letter to the company in March indicating the sensitivities of its involvement with the project.