Who Profits?, a project of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, found photo’s of the A1 high-speed train project that will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on the Israel Railways’ Facebook page. The photos - published on 4 June 2012 - document the use of Caterpillar equipment in the construction of tunnel 3A which lies within the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israel’s A1 high-speed train crosses the Green Line - the 1949 Armistice Line (also known as the “1967 line”) that is internationally recognized as the boundary between Israel and the occupied West Bank. When completed, the A1 high-speed train will exclusively serve Israeli commuters between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Who Profits published a report on the A1 fast train in October 2010.
Israel builds railway tunnel 3A on occupied land
The railway will run for six kilometers on occupied Palestinian land, violating international law in several ways. For example, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids Israel as occupying power from destroying Palestinian property. The construction of the A1 railway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the West Bank contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3. Israel’s entire settlement enterprise in the West Bank has been declared illegal and illegitimate countless times by governments all over the world and by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice, although no action has ever been taken to enforce those decisions.
Tunnel 3A is part of the section of the railway which cuts into the West Bank near the Palestinian villages of Bet Surik and Beit Iksa, close to Jerusalem. The section consists of a tunnel, a bridge over Cedar Valley and a second tunnel. The map on page 11 in Who Profits’ report on the A1 clarifies the situation. Tunnel 3A is situated on occupied land.
In the original plan the route would pass the Israeli town of Mevaseret Zion. However, the Israeli residents objected to the plan, demanding that the route be moved at least 500 meters further north. Following protests by Israeli citizens, the railway route was moved to 250–300 metres north of the 1949 Armistice Line, cutting into the lands of the vilages Beit Surik and Beit Iksa.
Caterpillar machinery used for illegal construction of railway tunnel on occupied Palestinian land
Recently, Maureen Clare Murphy reported in her blog Milestone victory: pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divests $72 million from Caterpillar that US pension fund giant TIAA-CREF had removed Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice Funds portfolio. The Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation decided to divest $900,000 worth of shares in Caterpillar one month earlier.
The role of Caterpillar machines in the illegal construction of A1 railway tunnel 3A in the occupied West Bank is yet another reason for socially responsible investors to divest from the company.