FIDH / November 13, 2019[International Federation for Human Rights]
French company Egis announced last month its decision to not participate in the bidding process for the construction of a new line that would expand Jerusalem’s light rail system. This project, a tool and symbol of Israel’s settlement and annexation policy, aims to connect West Jerusalem to Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem, in blatant violation of international law.
Egis is the sole remaining French company involved in the project; in partially disengaging with the project, it follows on the heels of Systra’s withdrawal in June 2018 and that of Alstom in May 2019. The latter had argued that “the call for tenders and the project itself are ostensibly harmful, or could potentially harm human rights.” While Egis has abstained from bidding on the project’s most recently planned line, it remains involved in the construction and extension of other lines.
In a June 2018 report entitled The Jerusalem Light Rail System: How French Companies Contribute to the Israeli Colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, eight organisations (AFD, CFDT, CGT, FIDH, Al-Haq, LDH, Solidaires, Platform of French NGOs for Palestine) denounced the participation of three French companies—Egis and Systra, which are subsidiaries of public institutions (SNCF and RATP, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations) and Alstom—in the construction of the Jerusalem light rail, a tool of Israel’s colonisation and development policy of annexation, which violates international law.
These eight organisations have repeatedly lobbied actors including the management of Egis, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, which holds 75% of its subsidiary capital Egis-Rail in Lyon, and the president of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations’ Supervisory Commission, encouraging them to disengage from the project.
While FIDH and its partners welcome this positive announcement from Egis, they continue their efforts advocating for a total withdrawal of the company from this unlawful project.