The following press release was issued by Australians for Peace on 25 June 2009:
Connex has been dumped by the Victorian State Government as Melbourne’s train system operator. Moammar Mashni of Australians for Palestine said that after four months of campaigning and some 100,000 pamphlets distributed, Palestine advocacy groups can take heart.
“This is the first step in what we hope will become a strong boycotts, divestments and sanctions movement (BDS) in Australia against Israel’s apartheid policies,” Mashni said. “Our boycott pamphlet asked people to send a detachable petition to Minister Kosky and we understand that thousands have landed on her desk.”
The Dump Connex campaign had been run to alert Melbourne’s commuters to the unethical agreement that Connex had entered into with Israel. Under the contract, Connex had agreed to operate a public transport service to Jewish settlements that Israel is continuing to build deep inside the occupied West Bank in defiance of international law.
“However,” said Mashni, “Connex may be losing on that score as well. Only recently, its parent company Veolia announced that it would be seeking to pull out of its contract with Israel to build the Jerusalem light rail, due to some $7 billion worth of losses. There is no doubt that the BDS campaigns run by Palestine solidarity groups in Europe had a lot to do with that.”
These worldwide boycotts have become necessary as Israel continues to ignore calls to halt its illegal settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“They are,” said Mashni, “nonviolent actions that were shown to be most effective in ending apartheid rule in South Africa and Australia can expect to see many more such actions being taken against companies doing business with Israel.”