Notes t 1/m 9 at ”Letter to CAF about involvement in the illegal Israeli settlements”





JERUSALEM Transportation Masterplan Team (JTMT) has awarded the TransJerusalem J-Net consortium, comprised of CAF and the construction firm Shapir, a €1.8bn contract to undertake an extension to the Jerusalem light rail network.

The Private-Public Partnership (PPP) includes the construction of 27km of new track, 53 new stations and various depots covering a 6.8km extension to the Red Line, and the new 20.6km Green Line. The Red Line is currently 13.8km long with 23 stations, and carries around 145,000 passengers daily.

The consortium will also design and supply 114 new Urbos LRVs for the Green Line, and the refurbishment of the 46 vehicles currently in service on the Red Line.

The contract includes the signalling, energy and communication systems, as well as the operation and maintenance of both lines for 15 and 25 years respectively, with the possibility of extending the term of operation.

CAF’s share of the contract is worth more than €500m, and includes the vehicle’s supply and refurbishment, signalling, energy and communication systems and project integration. CAF will also have a 50% stake in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company that will manage the operation and maintenance of both lines, which is expected to have a €1bn turnover.

Construction is expected begin later this year with the new extensions fully operational by 2025.

Shikun & Binui and Egged (Israel), CRRC (China), Comsa (Spain), Efatec (Portugal) and MPK (Poland) also submitted bids for the contract.



8 AUGUST 2019

The transport authority JTMT (Jerusalem Transportation Masterplan Team) has chosen the TransJerusalem J-Net Ltd consortium, consisting in the CAF Group and the construction firm Saphir, for the Jerusalem light rail project. The project value is 1.8 billion EUR.

The so-called Green line is a PPP (Private-Public Partnership) scheme and includes the construction of 20.6 kilometres of new track, 53 stations and a depot. Jerusalem opened its’ first light rail line, the red line in 2011. The new Green line uses the current Red Line on a stretch of 6.8 km. The contract also includes the design and supply of 114 low-floor Urbos trams (which will be operated as double-tractions) for the new Green Line and the refurbishment of the 46 units which are currently in service on the existing Red Line.

114 Urbos trams and 25 years of operation

The project scope of the consortium will also include the supply of the signalling, energy and communication systems, as well as the operation and maintenance of both lines for 15 and 25 years respectively, with the possibility of extending the term of operation. The CAF Group’s scope of this project exceeds 500 million EUR. The Group will also have a 50% stake in the company that will manage the operation and maintenance of both lines. The project is expected to be implemented this year with the new network fully operative by 2025.

The future network

The tram’s Red Line currently extends along 13.8 km with 23 stations distributed on the route, was inaugurated in 2011 and providing transport to over 145,000 passengers on average per day. The Green lines is expected to have a ridership of 200,000 passengers per day. It will link the two campuses of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and continue south via Pat junction to Gilo while using a common section with the Red line in the city centre until the terminus of the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem railway station which was inaugurated in 2018.

Of the eight entities that participated in the preliminary stages, only two consortiums submitted bids in the final stage. The other consortium consisted in the companies Shikun & Binui and Egged (Israel), CRRC (China), Comsa (Spain), Efatec (Portugal) and MPK (Poland). Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier are reported to have left the tender process at an earlier stage. The companies did not officially withdraw from the process due to political reasons. Nevertheless, the light rail development in Jerusalem has been criticized in the past as both lines run through the disputed area of East Jerusalem.





Israel is only able to maintain its regime of occupation, colonisation and apartheid over the Palestinian people because of international complicity. Corporations play a key role in this.

The Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) project is so blatantly illegal that other multinationals which had participated in the initial stages of bidding for the project, including Alstom, Siemens, Systra, Bombardier and Macquarie withdrew from the call for tenders, leaving just two consortiums bidding.

The French company Veolia was forced to pull out of the same illegal Israeli JLR project in 2015 after losing billions of dollars in international tenders due to sustained BDS campaigning in Europe, the US and several Arab countries.

The Israeli business publication Globes claimed, expectedly, that the other firms did not “officially withdraw from the process for political reasons” but admitted that “for most of the international transportation and infrastructure companies, Jerusalem is ‘outside the pale.’

By carrying out this project, CAF is also violating its own code of conduct, where it says that “any action by CAF and its members will keep scrupulous respect for laws, human rights and public liberties.” The Basque Autonomous Community government owns shares of CAF, which should ensure that no public money supports Israel’s illegal occupation of the occupied Palestinian territory.

Corporate involvement in the crimes of Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid is not only morally reprehensible and a legal liability. It can hurt business, too.




In the Spanish state over 100 people have asked the public train company RENFE not to contract CAF, due to its involvement in the illegal Israeli Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), in partnership with the Israeli company Shapir that is in the UN database of companies that enable and profit from Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. 

Eighteen human rights groups have asked the Spanish Minister of transport José Luis Abalos to exclude from public tenders CAF and all companies listed in the UN database, such as Alstom. Over thirty organisations in solidarity with Palestine sent a letter to Reyes Maroto the Spanish  Minister of Industry and the publicly owned company RENFE. This letter was sent because the Minister had offered more public contracts to CAF in light of the company’s announcement of its plans to shut down one of its factories, Trenasa, causing 118 people to lose their jobs. This decision is incomprehensible seeing that the company ended 2019 with its highest record of earnings and its best record in sales. This and the fact that CAF is involved in an illegal Israeli project that serves settlements, which will expose the company to boycott campaigns globally, are clear evidence that CAF cares very little about its workers’ rights and about human rights in general. 

In Oslo, Norway,  the Palestine Committee and two railway unions received new trams from the Basque firm CAF with a protest. They’re asking Norway’s public sector not to work with CAF until it stops building Israel’s illegal Jerusalem Light Rail, entrenching apartheid.

Eight trade unions in Norway have joined the call to boycott CAF: Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (National), Norwegian Union of Railway workers (National), National Union of Norwegian Locomotivemen (National),  Fagforbundet- Helse, Sosial og Velferd, Oslo (Local), Norwegian Civil Service Union at OsloMet (Local), Lokomotivpersonalets forening Oslo (Local), Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions, local 850 (Local),  and Oslo Sporveiers Arbeiderforening (Local).

CAF and Shapir are close to signing one of the largest project financing agreements ever agreed in Israel for the construction and operation of a network of lines in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project. The financing will be extended by a consortium of banks led by Bank Hapoalim, which like Shapir is included in the UN database of companies profiting from business in Israel’s illegal settlements. 


” The Jerusalem light rail connects large Israeli settlement blocs in occupied East Jerusalem with the western part of the city, expropriating occupied Palestinian land and promoting increased territorial contiguity for settlements alongside growing territorial fragmentation for East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods.”


JUL 2017

”Development of the light rail line is bringing prosperity and growth to the city’s real estate and business sectors, an upsurge in cultural and entertainment centers, and accessibility to the downtown area for residents of large neighborhoods, such as Pigat Ze’ev.”








Pisgat Ze’ev (Hebrew: פסגת זאב‎, lit. Ze’ev’s Peak) is an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem[1] and the largest residential neighborhood in Jerusalem with a population of over 50,000.[2] Pisgat Ze’ev was established by Israel as one of the city’s five Ring Neighborhoods on land effectively annexed after the 1967 Six-Day War.”





”Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied Palestinian territory and displacing the local population contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”. 

The extensive appropriation of land and the appropriation and destruction of property required to build and expand settlements also breach other rules of international humanitarian law. Under the Hague Regulations of 1907, the public property of the occupied population (such as lands, forests and agricultural estates) is subject to the laws of usufruct. This means that an occupying state is only allowed a very limited use of this property. This limitation is derived from the notion that occupation is temporary, the core idea of the law of occupation. In the words of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the occupying power “has a duty to ensure the protection, security, and welfare of the people living under occupation and to guarantee that they can live as normal a life as possible, in accordance with their own laws, culture, and traditions.”





ARTICLE 49 [ Link ]

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.
Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.
The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.
The Protecting Power shall be informed of any transfers and evacuations as soon as they have taken place.
The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.
The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.



”Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.





”We found the three elements of the crime of apartheid all come together in the OPT, pursuant to a single Israeli government policy. That policy is to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the OPT, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression and inhumane acts committed against Palestinians living there.”


”The 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” examines Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It presents the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.”


(Jerusalem) – Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.

The 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” examines Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It presents the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.April 27, 2021

Q&A: A Threshold Crossed

Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution

“Prominent voices have warned for years that apartheid lurks just around the corner if the trajectory of Israel’s rule over Palestinians does not change,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This detailed study shows that Israeli authorities have already turned that corner and today are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The finding of apartheid and persecution does not change the legal status of the occupied territory, made up of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, or the factual reality of occupation.

Originally coined in relation to South Africa, apartheid today is a universal legal term. The prohibition against particularly severe institutional discrimination and oppression or apartheid constitutes a core principle of international law. The 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court (ICC) define apartheid as a crime against humanity consisting of three primary elements:

  1. An intent to maintain domination by one racial group over another.
  2. A context of systematic oppression by the dominant group over the marginalized group.
  3. Inhumane acts.

The reference to a racial group is understood today to address not only treatment on the basis of genetic traits but also treatment on the basis of descent and national or ethnic origin, as defined in the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. Human Rights Watch applies this broader understanding of race.

The crime against humanity of persecution, as defined under the Rome Statute and customary international law, consists of severe deprivation of fundamental rights of a racial, ethnic, or other group with discriminatory intent.

Human Rights Watch found that the elements of the crimes come together in the occupied territory, as part of a single Israeli government policy. That policy is to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territory. It is coupled in the occupied territory with systematic oppression and inhumane acts against Palestinians living there.

Drawing on years of human rights documentation, case studies, and a review of government planning documents, statements by officials, and other sources, Human Rights Watch compared policies and practices toward Palestinians in the occupied territory and Israel with those concerning Jewish Israelis living in the same areas. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Israeli government in July 2020, soliciting its perspectives on these issues, but has received no response.

Across Israel and the occupied territory, Israeli authorities have sought to maximize the land available for Jewish communities and to concentrate most Palestinians in dense population centers. The authorities have adopted policies to mitigate what they have openly described as a “demographic threat” from Palestinians. In Jerusalem, for example, the government’s plan for the municipality, including both the west and occupied east parts of the city, sets the goal of “maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city” and even specifies the demographic ratios it hopes to maintain.

To maintain domination, Israeli authorities systematically discriminate against Palestinians. The institutional discrimination that Palestinian citizens of Israel face includes laws that allow hundreds of small Jewish towns to effectively exclude Palestinians and budgets that allocate only a fraction of resources to Palestinian schools as compared to those that serve Jewish Israeli children. In the occupied territory, the severity of the repression, including the imposition of draconian military rule on Palestinians while affording Jewish Israelis living in a segregated manner in the same territory their full rights under Israel’s rights-respecting civil law, amounts to the systematic oppression required for apartheid.

Israeli authorities have committed a range of abuses against Palestinians. Many of those in the occupied territory constitute severe abuses of fundamental rights and the inhumane acts again required for apartheid, including: sweeping movement restrictions in the form of the Gaza closure and a permit regime, confiscation of more than a third of the land in the West Bank, harsh conditions in parts of the West Bank that led to the forcible transfer of thousands of Palestinians out of their homes, denial of residency rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their relatives, and the suspension of basic civil rights to millions of Palestinians.

Many of the abuses at the core of the commission of these crimes, such as near-categorical denial of building permits to Palestinians and demolition of thousands of homes on the pretext of lacking permits, have no security justification. Others, such as Israel’s effective freeze on the population registry it manages in the occupied territory, which all but blocks family reunification for Palestinians living there and bars Gaza residents from living in the West Bank, use security as a pretext to further demographic goals. Even when security forms part of the motivation, it no more justifies apartheid and persecution than it would excessive force or torture, Human Rights Watch said.

“Denying millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights, without any legitimate security justification and solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish, is not simply a matter of an abusive occupation,” Roth said. “These policies, which grant Jewish Israelis the same rights and privileges wherever they live and discriminate against Palestinians to varying degrees wherever they live, reflect a policy to privilege one people at the expense of another.”

Statements and actions by Israeli authorities in recent years, including the passage of a law with constitutional status in 2018 establishing Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people,” the growing body of laws that further privilege Israeli settlers in the West Bank and do not apply to Palestinians living in the same territory, as well as the massive expansion in recent years of settlements and accompanying infrastructure connecting settlements to Israel, have clarified their intent to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis. The possibility that a future Israeli leader might someday forge a deal with Palestinians that dismantles the discriminatory system does not negate that reality today.

Israeli authorities should dismantle all forms of repression and discrimination that privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians, including with regards to freedom of movement, allocation of land and resources, access to water, electricity, and other services, and the granting of building permits.

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor should investigate and prosecute those credibly implicated in the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. Countries should do so as well in accordance with their national laws under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on officials responsible for committing these crimes.

The findings of crimes against humanity should prompt the international community to reevaluate the nature of its engagement in Israel and Palestine and adopt an approach centered on human rights and accountability rather than solely on the stalled “peace process.” Countries should establish a UN commission of inquiry to investigate systematic discrimination and repression in Israel and Palestine and a UN global envoy for the crimes of persecution and apartheid with a mandate to mobilize international action to end persecution and apartheid worldwide.

Countries should condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps toward ending their commission of these crimes. Countries should vet agreements, cooperation schemes, and all forms of trade and dealing with Israel to screen for those directly contributing to committing the crimes, mitigate the human rights impacts and, where not possible, end activities and funding found to facilitate these serious crimes.

“While much of the world treats Israel’s half-century occupation as a temporary situation that a decades-long ‘peace process’ will soon cure, the oppression of Palestinians there has reached a threshold and a permanence that meets the definitions of the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” Roth said. “Those who strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace, whether a one or two-state solution or a confederation, should in the meantime recognize this reality for what it is and bring to bear the sorts of human rights tools needed to end it.”

”Israel has maintained military rule over some portion of the Palestinian population for all but six months of its 73-year history. It did so over the vast majority of Palestinians inside Israel from 1948 and until 1966. From 1967 until the present, it has militarily ruled over Palestinians in the OPT, excluding East Jerusalem. By contrast, it has since its founding governed all Jewish Israelis, including settlers in the OPT since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, under its more rights-respecting civil law.”


27 APRIL 2021


  Article 7 Crimes against humanity 

1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: 

(a) Murder;

 (b) Extermination;

 (c) Enslavement; 

(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population; 

(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; 

(f) Torture;

 (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; 

(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

 (i) Enforced disappearance of persons;

 (j) The crime of apartheid;






Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!



Forcible takeovers of homes, brutal suppression of demonstrators, places of worship under assault, identity-based communal violence, indiscriminate rocket attacks, children killed in strikes: what to make of the dizzying headlines out of Israel and Palestine in recent days?

Without doubt, the recent events in Gaza and Jerusalem have given rise to grave abuses. We are investigating and will take some time as we gather the facts. There are, though, some preliminary takeaways based on what we do know. 

The escalation began over the move to take over several Palestinian homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed but is occupied territory under international law. Israel planned to evict the Palestinian residents and transfer their longtime homes to Jewish settlers. Israeli courts allowed these moves under a 1970 Israeli law that facilitates the return of property to Jewish owners or their heirs, including Jewish associations acting on their behalf, that they claim to have owned in East Jerusalem prior to 1948, when Jordanian authorities assumed control until 1967.

The Palestinian families involved had earlier been displaced from inside what is today Israel. They are barred by law from reclaiming their land and homes, which the Israeli authorities confiscated, along with land belonging to many other displaced Palestinians, as “absentee property” in the aftermath of the events around the establishment of the state of Israel between 1947 and 1949. A final court ruling on the matter is expected soon.

This discriminatory treatment, with the exact opposite legal outcomes for claims of pre-1948 title to property based on whether the claimant is a Jewish Israeli or a Palestinian, underscores the reality of apartheid that Palestinians in East Jerusalem face. Nearly all Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem hold a conditional, revocable residency status, while Jewish Israelis in the same area are citizens with secure status. Palestinians live in densely populated enclaves that receive a fraction of the resources given to settlements and effectively cannot obtain building permits, while neighboring Israeli settlements built on expropriated Palestinian land flourish.

Israeli officials have intentionally created this discriminatory system under which Jewish Israelis thrive at the expense of Palestinians. The government’s plan for the Jerusalem municipality, including both the west and occupied east parts of the city, sets the goal of “maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city” and even specifies the demographic ratios it hopes to maintain. This intent to dominate underlies Israel’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, which Human Rights Watch documented in a recent report.

To protest the planned Sheikh Jarrah evictions, Palestinians held demonstrations around East Jerusalem, some of which included incidents of rock-throwing. Israeli forces responded by firing teargas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets, including inside al-Aqsa Mosque, injuring 1000 Palestinians, 735 by rubber bullets, between May 7 and May 10, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At least 32 Israeli officers have also been injured, according to figures cited by OCHA.

These practices stem from a decades-long pattern of Israeli authorities using excessive and vastly disproportionate force to quell protests and disturbances by Palestinians, often resulting in serious injury and loss of life.

Protests later broke out both in the West Bank and inside Israel.

Seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to brandish their image as defenders of al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza fired rockets at Israeli population centers. Three people in Israel have been killed as a result, as of May 11. Such attacks, which are inherently indiscriminate and endanger the lives, homes, and properties of tens of thousands of Israeli civilians, are war crimes, as Human Rights Watch has extensively documented over the years.

In response, Israeli forces launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported on May 11 that these strikes killed 30 Palestinians, including 10 children, though there are reports that some may have been killed in errant rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups. The legality of each strike requires thorough investigations, but the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where more than 2 million Palestinians live in a strip of territory that is 41 kilometers long and between 6 and 12 kilometers wide, and targeting at times of residential buildings is likely to harm civilians.

During armed hostilities over the last decade plus, Human Rights Watch has documented the regular use of excessive and vastly disproportionate force by Israeli authorities, at times deliberately targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure.

For years, this cycle of escalation has played on loop, at varying degrees of intensity. Even if the immediate crisis subsides, the vicious cycle will continue so long as impunity for serious abuses remains the norm and the international community fails to take the sort of measures to ensure accountability that a situation of this gravity warrants.



6. Basque company CAF is contracted to extend Israel’s Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) tram service to illegal settlements. Settlements are defined as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The JLR passes through Sheikh Jarrah where illegal settlers backed by the Israeli state, their military, and police forces, are attempting to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah.

Use social media to demand #CAFGetOffIsraelsApartheidTrain


Watching apartheid Israel’s bloody crushing of popular Palestinian protests in Sheikh Jarrah and occupied Jerusalme calls us to action. We have proven before our collective power in the form of #BDS. Here are 9 actions you can take to fight Israeli impunity and #SaveSheikhJarrah.

Over the last number of weeks Palestinian protests to #SaveSheikhJarrah, in occupied East Jerusalem, have grown in size. They have been met with brutal repression by Israeli apartheid security forces, including police officers trained in Israel’s police training academy partially owned by G4S and Allied Universal. 

Indigenous Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah have fought lengthy legal battles in Israeli courts against eviction orders which would see them ethnically cleansed, forcefully evicted from their homes, and replaced with illegal Israeli settlers.

At the beginning of May, Israeli settlers submitted their response to the rightful claims of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah to the Israeli court, an apparatus of Israel’s apartheid regime. 

The Palestinian families were then given time to reach an “agreement” with the settlers regarding the right to their homes. Sheikh Jarrah belongs to the Palestinian families. It is part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and therefore any Israeli settler presence in it amounts to a war crime under international law. Israel’s settlement enterprise is an integral part of its apartheid system against all Palestinians.

The Israeli court decision to give a period of time to “both sides” to seek a compromise and reach an agreement is colonial gaslighting. It is also a tactic used to exhaust the ongoing protests and public pressure to #SaveSheikhJarrah. More protests are scheduled to take place over the coming days, and residents vow to remain steadfast.

In Silwan, another East Jerusalem neighbourhood, extremist settlers backed by the Israeli state want to take over the homes of seven Palestinian families who are also fighting lengthy legal battles in Israeli courts.

In occupied Jerusalem, Israel keeps a 60:40 demographic ratio between Jews and Arabs. All ‘excess’ Palestinians are under threat of forced transfer.

In April, Human Rights Watch published their histories report ‘A Threshold Crossed – Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution‘ outlining Israel’s demographic plans for Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem, the government’s plan for the municipality, including both the west and occupied east of the city, sets the goal of “maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city” and a target demographic “ratio of 70% Jews and 30% Arabs”—later adjusted to a 60:40 ratio after authorities acknowledged that “this goal is not attainable” in light of “the demographic trend.”

Watching from afar Israel’s brutal violence against unarmed Palestinian protestors defending their homes and dignity can evoke feelings of anger mixed with powerlessness. We have proven before that collective action in the form of #BDS works best to express true and effective solidarity. Here are 9 actions you can take to fight Israeli impunity and #SaveSheikhJarrah 


  1. First, use the power of social media to highlight what is happening. Use #SaveSheikhJarrah and #SaveSilwan in all of your social media posts. Share images and videos from activists who are facing social media censorship. Amplify the voices of the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
  2. Last week Human Rights Watch stated in their groundbreaking report what Palestinians have been saying for decades. Israel is an apartheid state. Now the global consensus is building. Israel’s regime of oppression, including its actions in Sheikh Jarrah, fits the UN definition of apartheid. We can work together to dismantle Israeli apartheid, as global solidarity and boycotts helped to end South African apartheid.Support our campaign and use #UNInvestigateApartheid on social media to add your voice to the global call.
  3. Israeli security companies make millions of dollars in global exports every year by selling goods and services tested on Indigenous Palestinians, including those struggling against ethnic cleansing in occupied Jerusalem.  AnyVision’s facial recognition system and NSO’s spying technology are among the most obvious examples of apartheid Israel’s tools of mass surveillance and repression. Israel tries them on Palestinians and exports them to dictatorships and far-right governments worldwide to support their crimes and human rights violations.Pressure your parliament/government to impose a #MilitaryEmbargo against Israel.
  4. G4S and now Allied Universal own a 25% stake in Israel’s national police academy where Israeli police learn brutal & violent repression being used against residents and activists in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. Some of these militarized tactics end up being shared with U.S. and other police forces during joint training.Join our letter-writing campaign and urge Allied Universal executives to divest from Israeli apartheid.On social media use #StopG4S to demand they divest from Israeli apartheid.
  5. Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Hewlett Packard (HPE and HP) play key roles in Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against the Indigenous Palestinians. They provide computer systems to the Israeli army and maintain data centres through their servers for the Israeli police who are violently repressing peaceful protestors defending their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.Sign the international pledge and use #BoycottHP on social media.
  6. Basque company CAF is contracted to extend Israel’s Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) tram service to illegal settlements. Settlements are defined as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The JLR passes through Sheikh Jarrah where illegal settlers backed by the Israeli state, their military, and police forces, are attempting to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah.Use social media to demand #CAFGetOffIsraelsApartheidTrain
  7. German sportswear manufacturer PUMA sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams and pitches in illegal Israeli settlements, including Givat HaMivtar, just north of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem. Join the campaign launched by 200 Palestinian teams to #BoycottPuma.Share social media actions hijacking PUMA’s #OnlySeeGreat campaign with Palestinians #OnlySeeApartheid.
  8. Boycott all products from Israel’s colonial settlements! Israeli produce like dates and avocados, many of which are produced by companies operating in settlements, can be found in local supermarkets. Demand your supermarket to stop stocking them.
  9. International action can help stop Israel in its tracks. Email or call the elected officials in your country and urge them to adopt Human Rights Watch findings on Israeli apartheid and, crucially, its recommendations to condition all relations with Israel on dismantling its apartheid regime.



This Saturday June 5 is the annual shareholder meeting of CAF, a Basque company that is building the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), a tram line serving Israel’s illegal settlements in Jerusalem.

The JLR passes through occupied Jerusalem including the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which Israel wants to ethnically cleanse.

We need your help to pressure CAF shareholders: CAF must end its complicity with Israel’s violent occupation of Jerusalem.

Four Palestinian families are facing eviction from their Jerusalem homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Over the past few weeks, Israeli settlers, with the backing of lsrael’s military and police forces, have violently attacked Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and the rest of occupied Jerusalem. 

This last wave of attacks is not new and is a core part of Israel’s systemic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem- which is illegal under international law.

Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah are resilient and defiant, and despite Israel’s brutal attacks, they will not give up their rights to their homes.

You can stand with them by pressuring CAF to abandon the project to build Israel’s colonial tramway. 

Pressure works, and there is a precedent. Two weeks ago, the Norwegian Oil Fund divested from CAF’s partner in the Jerusalem Light Rail, the Israeli company Shapir, due to its complicity in human rights violations. The Norwegian Oil Fund is also a shareholder of CAF.

On Saturday, CAF shareholders have a choice to make: take the company out of Sheikh Jarrah, and occupied Jerusalem, or face losing lucrative contracts around the world through BDS action.



”Under the “disengagement” plan endorsed Tuesday by the Knesset, Israeli forces will keep control over Gaza’s borders, coastline and airspace, and will reserve the right to launch incursions at will. Israel will continue to wield overwhelming power over the territory’s economy and its access to trade.

“The removal of settlers and most military forces will not end Israel’s control over Gaza,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “Israel plans to reconfigure its occupation of the territory, but it will remain an occupying power with responsibility for the welfare of the civilian population.”





Israeli Government Still Holds Responsibility for Welfare of Civilians

The Israeli government’s plan to remove troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip would not end Israel’s occupation of the territory. As an occupying power, Israel will retain responsibility for the welfare of Gaza’s civilian population.

Under the “disengagement” plan endorsed Tuesday by the Knesset, Israeli forces will keep control over Gaza’s borders, coastline and airspace, and will reserve the right to launch incursions at will. Israel will continue to wield overwhelming power over the territory’s economy and its access to trade.

“The removal of settlers and most military forces will not end Israel’s control over Gaza,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “Israel plans to reconfigure its occupation of the territory, but it will remain an occupying power with responsibility for the welfare of the civilian population.”

Under the plan, Israel is scheduled to remove settlers and military bases protecting the settlers from the Gaza Strip and four isolated West Bank Jewish settlements by the end of 2005. The Israeli military will remain deployed on Gaza’s southern border, and will reposition its forces to other areas just outside the territory.

In addition to controlling the borders, coastline and airspace, Israel will continue to control Gaza’s telecommunications, water, electricity and sewage networks, as well as the flow of people and goods into and out of the territory. Gaza will also continue to use Israeli currency.

A World Bank study on the economic effects of the plan determined that “disengagement” would ease restrictions on mobility inside Gaza. But the study also warned that the removal of troops and settlers would have little positive effect unless accompanied by an opening of Gaza’s borders. If the borders are sealed to labor and trade, the plan “would create worse hardship than is seen today.”

The plan also explicitly envisions continued home demolitions by the Israeli military to expand the “buffer zone” along the Gaza-Egypt border. According to a report released last week by Human Rights Watch, the Israeli military has illegally razed nearly 1,600 homes since 2000 to create this buffer zone, displacing some 16,000 Palestinians. Israeli officials have called for the buffer zone to be doubled, which would result in the destruction of one-third of the Rafah refugee camp.

In addition, the plan states that disengagement “will serve to dispel the claims regarding Israel’s responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.” A report by legal experts from the Israeli Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the military made public on Sunday, however, reportedly acknowledges that disengagement “does not necessarily exempt Israel from responsibility in the evacuated territories.”

If Israel removes its troops from Gaza, the Palestinian National Authority will maintain responsibility for security within the territory—to the extent that Israel allows Palestinian police the authority and capacity. Palestinian security forces will still have a duty to protect civilians within Gaza and to prevent indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians.

“Under international law, the test for determining whether an occupation exists is effective control by a hostile army, not the positioning of troops,” Whitson said. “Whether the Israeli army is inside Gaza or redeployed around its periphery and restricting entrance and exit, it remains in control.”

Under international law, the duties of an occupying power are detailed in the Fourth Geneva Convention and The Hague Regulations. According to The Hague Regulations, a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.”





17 MAY 2021

Israeli forces have displayed a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians by carrying out a number of airstrikes targeting residential buildings in some cases killing entire families – including children – and causing wanton destruction to civilian property, in attacks that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International today.

The organization has documented four deadly attacks by Israel launched on residential homes without prior warning and is calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to urgently investigate these attacks. The death toll in Gaza continues to climb with at least 198 Palestinians killed including 58 children and more than 1,220 injured. Ten people in Israel, including two children, have been killed and at least 27 injured by Palestinian attacks.

“There is a horrific pattern emerging of Israel launching air strikes in Gaza targeting residential buildings and family homes – in some cases entire families were buried beneath the rubble when the buildings they lived in collapsed.  In the cases documented below, no prior warning was given to the civilian residents to allow them to escape. Under international humanitarian law, all parties must distinguish between military targets and civilian objects and direct their attacks only at military objectives. When carrying out attacks, parties must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Although the Israeli military has given no explanation of what military objectives it was targeting in these attacks, it is hard to imagine how bombing residential buildings full of civilian families without warning could be considered proportionate under international humanitarian law. It is not possible to use large explosive weapons, like aircraft bombs that have a blast radius of many hundreds of meters, in populated areas without anticipating major civilian casualties.

“By carrying out these brazen deadly attacks on family homes without warning Israel has demonstrated a callous disregard for lives of Palestinian civilians who are already suffering the collective punishment of Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza since 2007.”

The Israeli army claims that it only attacks military targets and has justified airstrikes on residential buildings on that basis. However, residents told Amnesty International that there were no fighters or military objectives in the vicinity at the time of the attacks documented.

“Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian property and infrastructure are war crimes, as are disproportionate attacks. The International Criminal Court has an active investigation into the situation in Palestine and should urgently investigate these attacks as war crimes. States should also consider exercising universal jurisdiction over those who commit war crimes. Impunity only works to fuel the pattern of unlawful attacks and civilian bloodshed, which have we have repeatedly documented in previous Israeli military offensives on Gaza,” said Saleh Higazi.

At least 152 residential properties in Gaza have been destroyed since 11 May, according to the Gaza-based human rights organization, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza, Israeli strikes have destroyed 94 buildings, comprising 461 housing and commercial units while 285 housing units have been severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable.

According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) more than 2,500 people have been made homeless due to the destruction of their homes and more than 38,000 people have been internally displaced and have sought shelter in 48 UNRWA schools across Gaza.

Indiscriminate rocket-fire by Palestinian armed groups towards civilian areas of Israel has also killed and injured civilians and damaged homes and other civilian properties. The rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are imprecise and their use violates international humanitarian law which prohibits the use of weapons that are by nature indiscriminate. These attacks should also be investigated by the ICC as war crimes.

Amnesty International has previously published evidence that the Israeli military had a deliberate policy of targeting family homes during the 2014 conflict.

Devastating attacks on family homes

In one of the heaviest episodes of bombardment since the latest fighting began, between 1am and 2am on 16 May Israel carried out airstrikes against residential buildings and streets in Gaza City. The attacks completely destroyed two residential buildings belonging to the Abu al-Ouf and al-Kolaq families – killing 30 people – 11 of them children. 

Gaza’s Ministry of Labour building was also destroyed in the attacks. The attack blocked al-Wehda Street, one of the main roads leading to the main hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa.

The families residing in the four-storey al-Ouf building, which included residential apartments and shops, received no prior warning – they were buried beneath the rubble in the attack. 

Yousef Yassin, a medic from al-Shifa Hospital, was one of the first to arrive on the scene of al-Ouf Building after the attack and helped pull survivors from the wreckage with the Red Crescent. He described the scene to Amnesty International as one of “great destruction”.

“I helped get out four dead [bodies], but there were many more. It was very hard. There was no warning, so people were inside their home sitting together, and this is a lively, bustling area,” he said. 

Shortly before midnight on 14 May Israeli air strikes hit the three-storey building of the al-Atar family in Beit Lahia killing 28-year-old Lamya Hassan Mohammed Al-Atar her three children Islam, seven, Amira, six, and Mohammed an eight-month-old baby. 

Lamya’s father, Hassan Al-Atar, a civil defence officer told Amnesty International he headed to the scene of the attack with an ambulance and rescue team after a relative called him with news of the attack.  “He told me that our home had been bombed and [he was] stuck under the rubble [with his] wife and children,” he said.

“I arrived at the house, which is made up of three stories – 20 people live there – I tried to find people, but I could not. Then the rescue team arrived to help and we eventually found my daughter, a mother of three, with her children, one of whom was a baby, under one of the cement pillars of the house; all of them were dead. The other residents seem to have managed to escape from an opening after the bombing and got to the hospital. I was shocked,” he said.

Nader Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Thom, from al-Salatin neighbourhood in Beit Lahia, described how his home where he lives with eight others was attacked without any warning shortly after midnight on 15 May.

“There was no warning missile, no warning call, the house was bombed, and we were inside. Thank God that the civil defence and by sheer chance was close by and saved us from under the rubble, thank God no one died. We had injuries but not serious, when we got out I saw a fire at the gate of the house, then the ambulance took us to the hospital. I think this is when I lost consciousness. Thank God no one was badly hurt but we lost our house. We are now in the street; we do not know where to go what to do.” 

His family sought shelter at an UNRWA school but the school they arrived at was closed when they arrived and they had to sleep outside in the school yard. His entire home was destroyed including his clothes, money and paperwork and all their belongings.

In addition to residential homes, Israeli attacks have damaged water and electricity infrastructure as well as medical facilities and halted the operations of the North Gaza Seawater Desalination plant, which supplies water to more than 250,000 people.  





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