Dear Mayor Gondek
We are Israeli citizens, working to end our government's policies of racism, occupation and apartheid.
We are writing to you with regards to a recent contract signed by the city of Calgary and the Basque transport company CAF. As you probably know, CAF are constructing a light rail line in occupied East Jerusalem despite many calls for them to refrain from doing so,. The reason for these calls and for our appeal to you is that the construction of this light rail line makes CAF complicit in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israel hardly attempts to disguise its policy and its aims. As Israeli citizens living here, we regularly witness the unchecked settler violence, home demolitions, killing of demonstrators and imprisonment without charge. In addition to these dramatically visible crimes, Israeli policy includes long term systemic mechanisms for achieving the stated aims of reducing the Palestinian population. As documented by Adallah – a Palestinian human rights organization - Israeli legislation includes dozens of discriminatory laws. Beyond the letter of the law, discriminatory policies are enhanced by administrative decisions such as denial of building permits. The combination of these policies and practices and their persistence over decades have led Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, along with Israeli organizations - most notably B'tselem - to describe the Israeli system as a system of apartheid,,.
By constructing a rail line in occupied east Jerusalem which leads to Jewish-only settlements, CAF is literally cementing this apartheid system. We find it baffling that a company such as CAF which commits itself to the principle that: "...any action by CAF and its members will keep scrupulous respect for laws, human rights and public liberties.”, by insisting on working in the Israeli occupied territories, has betrayed a commitment to basic human rights.
This behavior should be condemned rather than rewarded with further contracts.
Friends who live in Calgary tell us that the city council, and you as a leader, are considered progressive, and that you are concerned about resisting oppression and the protection of human rights. As such, we are confident that you would not award a contract to a company building residential schools with full knowledge of their use against First Nations. Nor would you do business with a company building infrastructure for neighborhoods in Alberta where First Nations would not be allowed to live.
We, Israeli citizens, are joining the call of our Palestinian partners in asking you to not overlook the conduct of CAF, to live up to the same basic human principles you would hold in Calgary and not award a contract to CAF.
We would welcome the opportunity for further discussion, and we can provide additional documentation and recommend experts to advise you on the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as the significance of CAF’s involvement in the aforementioned violations of human rights and international law.
Boycott from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)