The Italian Coalition Stop That Train celebrates the news that the City Council of Naples, Italy has approved a motion condemning Pizzarotti for its involvement in a project in blatant violation of international law, the Israeli high-speed train cutting through the occupied Palestinian territories. The decision of the Naples City Council, which follows that of Rho (Milan) on November 30, 2011, is a strong sign for responsible action by local authorities, in this case one of Italy’s largest cities.
Stop That Train congratulates the Committee “For a Pizzarotti-Free Naples!” for the work done to mobilize citizens in support of the Campaign and in establishing dialog with the local administration in order to encourage it to take a stand on the issue.
In re-launching the press release from Naples, we call on all local administrations to endorse the “Pizzarotti-Free Cities” campaign and pass similar resolutions against Pizzarotti, until it ceases involvement in projects in violation of international law.
NAPLES STANDS FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
THE CITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS THE PARTICIPATION OF PIZZAROTTI IN THE TEL AVIV-JERUSALEM RAILWAY
On February 13, 2012, the City Council of Naples, Italy voted and approved by majority the motion presented by Council Members Fucito (FDS), Vasquez (N è t), Moxedano (IdV), Borriello (SEL), Fiale (PD) which “expresses moral and political condemnation of Pizzarotti & C for the firm’s participation in the construction of the A1 Jerusalem-Tel Aviv “. The new high-speed rail line, which is reserved “for the exclusive use of the Israeli population, runs for 6.5 km through the occupied West Bank, resulting in the confiscation of private property in the Palestinian villages of Beit Iksa and Beit Sourik, including agricultural land recognized by the Israeli Supreme Court as a ‘key resource for subsistence’ of the community.”
Therefore, “the A1 railway is in violation of International Humanitarian Law and International Treaties on Human Rights, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly Article 53 which prohibits ‘[a]ny destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations…except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations’, in this case the destruction is the result of construction of permanent infrastructures inaccessible to the local population.”
With this symbolic act and commitment, the City Council has shown responsibility in acting for peace and justice, even within the narrow limits of local administrations, where, however, the increasingly pervasive ramifications of political choices condemned by international law are established and sustained and the responsible institutions lack the willpower to apply sanctions and stop them. Recently, the UN passed another nine resolutions with regards to Israel’s lack of respect for international law, but without any consequences.
The motion passed was also in response to citizens and organizations of civil society that for months mobilized for the campaign “For a Pizzarotti-Free Naples!” and collected signatures on a petition to exclude Pizzarotti from future contracts until its actions, in Italy and abroad, are in compliance with laws in defense of human rights, and specifically Palestinian rights. The Naples campaign is part of a larger campaign on a national and international level, for more information see: www.stopthattrain.org.
The decision of the Naples City Council is based on human rights and follows the example of the City Council of Rho (Milan), Italy as well as Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, that withdrew from the A1 project in March 2011 on the recommendation of the German Ministry of Transport.
The City Council of Naples is, in fact, the second to have acted on the call from the national Stop That Train campaign to urge Pizzarotti to withdraw from the latest Israeli project to colonize the West Bank and, ultimately, indirectly force out the Palestinian civilian population. In fact, on November 30, 2011, Rho City Council approved a similar motion. Both measures commit the city councils to notify Pizzarotti & C. SpA of the contents of the motions passed.
The text also commits the Mayor and City Council of Naples “to consider the possibility of inclusion in the Rules for participation in tenders for the execution of municipal public works (…) a clause which excludes from participation companies and economic entities operating in violation of human rights and/or in violation of international law; and to include in all contracts of any kind, the mandatory clause ‘that the contract will be canceled if the contracting firm is involved in clear violation of international law and conventions.”
Thus, the Naples City Council gave new substance to their recognition of the State of Palestine, which first and foremost necessitates a stop to the continual erosion of the land on which it exists by the occupying power, Israel.
The Council also took the opportunity presented by this specific case to expand its commitment to international civilian vigilance through the ordinary acts is called upon to carry out.
We are proud of the Naples City Council, which demonstrated its capability to act on instances of respect for international law to protect the rights of the Palestinians that we brought forth to the Council.
We are satisfied with the fruitful dialogue we have established with the Council, while respecting each other’s roles.
We thank the entire City Council, who, in various ways, contributed to an act of international responsibility. We thank all Councilors who, through the motion on the A1 Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed rail line and the involvement therein of Italian firm Pizzarotti, wished to reiterate our city’s commitment to peace, which can only flourish with justice. Going beyond mere words, the City Council, aware of the tangled web linking everyday actions of local administrators with international dynamics, has taken a bold position in relation to its responsibilities, converging with the commitment of many citizens of Naples who mobilize for the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people and demand an end to occupation, colonization and apartheid.
Campaign “For a Pizzarotti-Free Naples!”
The Italian Coalition Stop That Train, comprising some 90 organizations, national and international, including Israel, as well as local groups throughout Italy, calls for the immediate withdrawal of Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. from the Israeli project for the A1 railway.
The A1 project and involvement of Pizzarotti are detailed in the report prepared by the Coalition of Women for Peace – Israel, Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train
Text of the motion approved by the Naples City Council [in Italian]
Press release “Rho City Council approves resolution condemning Pizzarotti”