CAF, get out of occupied Jerusalem, get off the Apartheid Train!

Let’s step up the pressure on CAF and its shareholders, ahead of their AGM, to stop this illegal business in occupied Jerusalem!

Saturday, June 10, is the date of the annual shareholders’ meeting of CAF, the Basque company that is expanding and operating Israel’s illegal Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR). JLR is a tram system that connects West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. As such, it supports Israel’s illegal de jure annexation of the occupied Palestinian city and its illegal settlements, which – due to the transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory and the forcible displacement of Indigenous Palestinians – constitute a war crime.

By being a major partner in the JLR project, CAF is complicit in these serious Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

Under the current far-right Israeli government, land theft, annexation, ethnic cleansing, home demolitions and settlement expansion are increasing at an alarming rate. In East Jerusalem, at least one third of all Palestinian homes are at risk of demolition, which would mean the forcible displacement of some 100,000 Palestinians. Israeli forces and illegal settlers also persistently desecrate and obstruct Palestinian access to our Muslim and Christian holy places in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel is only able to maintain this oppressive regime over the Indigenous Palestinian people because of international complicity of states, institutions and corporations. CAF is one of them. 

CAF operates the JLR’s “Red Line” and is building its “Green Line”, providing vehicles and technical services. These lines serve illegal settlements. 

We need your help to pressure CAF’s shareholders to ensure that CAF ends its complicity in Israel’s illegal settlements and annexation.

A growing number of organisations in the Basque Country, Spanish state and globally are joining the campaign to pressure CAF to end its involvement in the JLR. 

Your support is needed to increase this pressure on CAF to get off the Apartheid Train

Send the following email to CAF shareholders:

Dear CAF Shareholder,

I am writing to you in advance of CAF’s shareholder meeting on 10 June to urge you to pressure CAF to end its involvement in Israel’s illegal Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR). 

Aside from being morally reprehensible, CAF’s involvement in Israel’s grave human rights violations present serious legal and financial risks to the company. Moody’s has recently downgraded Israel’s credit outlook, following a “deterioration of Israel’s governance” and a “weakening of institutional strength and policy predictability” which has led to months of economic instability. Add to this the unprecedented upheaval in Israel’s prized high-tech sector and an accelerating capital flight.

For instance, Veolia, a French company that was involved in the JLR project in the past, was compelled to divest entirely from the project in 2015 after losing billions of dollars in tenders worldwide. 

CAF operates the JLR’s “Red Line” and is building its “Green Line”, providing vehicles and technical services. These lines will connect West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. 

The JLR directly supports Israel’s illegal de jure annexation of occupied East Jerusalem. It facilitates the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the forcible displacement of Palestinians from their occupied city.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and illegally annexed it in 1980. The international legal and diplomatic consensus mandates that the international community must not recognize, aid or assist Israel’s illegal actions in Jerusalem or other occupied Palestinian territory. 

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council found that “Israel’s commissioning of a tramway linking settlements to West Jerusalem … is a clear violation of international law and relevant UN resolutions”, calling on Israel to immediately halt construction of the JLR. 

CAF’s business partner in the JLR project, the Israeli company Shapir, is listed in the UN database of companies involved in business with illegal Israeli settlements.

Last year, the Spanish OECD Contact Point recommended that CAF assess the damage and violations of human rights caused by its contract with the JLR  in occupied Palestinian territory. 

To deflect these recommendations, CAF issued a report on the social impact of its participation in the JLR project which ignores international law, UN resolutions and the conclusions of the UN Human Rights Council, underlining the company’s complicity.

We ask you to demand answers from CAF’s management to the following pertinent questions:

  • Why does CAF’s report fail to analyse the company’s obligations under international law in relation to the direct aid and assistance it is providing, through its involvement in the JLR project, to Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied Palestinian territory?
  • Why did the report fail to professionally and transparently gauge and assess the severe harm that the JLR project has caused the affected Palestinian population?
  • Why did the report authors fail in their consultations to engage with the most important stakeholders, such as UN experts on business and human rights; Palestinian human rights organisations and other civil society groups (which have done indispensable expert research on Israel’s policies and infrastructure projects and how they directly support the ongoing theft of Palestinian land, annexation and forcible displacement); Amnesty International; or CSCA (the organisation that filed the complaint against CAF at the Spanish OECD Contact Point)? 

The systematic exclusion of evidence and analyses produced by the above crucial stakeholders, particularly the affected Palestinian population, invalidates the report’s credibility, deeming its analysis and conclusions a mere whitewash of CAF’s irrefutable complicity in grave human rights violations. 

Over the last three years, a powerful global coalition to pressure CAF to end its contract with the JLR has formed. In February 2020, 70 human rights advocates in the Basque Country launched a campaign calling on CAF to withdraw from the contract. The same year, more than 31 organisations, including Amnesty International Spain, urged the UN to include CAF in the upcoming update of the database of businesses involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. CAF’s own trade unions are calling on the company to end its involvement in the JLR.

Eight Norwegian trade unions have called for a boycott of CAF and for excluding the company from tenders. Similarly, a Europe-wide campaign is mobilising pressure on public institutions to refrain from contracting CAF until it respects Palestinian human rights and ends its involvement in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

A few days ago, Amnesty International Spain published a new report on CAF’s involvement in the JLR, titling it “CAF’s Jerusalem tramway: next stop, apartheid”. It warned CAF about greater losses in the future if CAF continues to deny its responsibility for grave human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.

In light of the above, I urge you to help bring an end to CAF’s shameful complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights in Jerusalem by immediately ending its involvement in the JLR.