Sabri calls on KSA to exclude Alstom from holy land railway bids

[ 01/10/2011 – 10:04 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Former Jerusalem Grand Mufti Ekrima Sabri has called on Saudi Arabia to use its “economic weapons” to defend Jerusalem by not accepting offers for the multi-billion dollar Haramain high-speed rail project by Israel’s Jerusalem transportation partner Alstom.

The French-based transportation giant drew international criticism and has been blacklisted by Swedish pension fund AP7 and the Dutch ASN Bank after participating in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway due to its route passing through occupied Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem.

“We must prosecute and boycott companies that deal with the Zionist entity and seek out ‘clean’ companies that provide good and acceptable services,” said Sabri in a press statement on Friday, noting the possibility that Saudi officials were unaware of the company’s gloomy history.

“Dealing with companies that deal with the Zionist entity in projects to Judaize Jerusalem is normalizing relations with such an entity,” added Sabri, who also gives Friday sermons at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Speaking on the ills of the Jerusalem Light Railway, Sabri said the 14-km long railway has inconvenienced the residents of occupied Jerusalem and constricted street space in addition to its aim of Judaizing Jerusalem by providing fast access by settlers in West Jerusalem to east Jerusalem, which the Israelis are trying to Judaize by uprooting Palestinians and replacing them with Jewish settlers.

European members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement met in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Wednesday to launch a campaign against Alstom at a time when the company seeks to win bids on Haramain High Speed Rail Project, which will link the holy cities of Makkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Also to go public in condemning hiring Alstom for the holy lands project was Muhammad Khatir, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Front in Jerusalem. He warned in a statement that to hire the company would be rewarding it for “major and serious violations” that it has been responsible for in occupied Jerusalem and would be “at the expense of Palestinian rights and Arab decisions to boycott similar companies”.

Khatir further warned that, if carried out, the deal would open doors for American and European companies to provide services to Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.

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