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University of Haifa
[U of Haifa, Women Studies] Dalit Baum's report on Israel's new fast train "Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train

http://www.whoprofits.org/articlefiles/WP-A1-Train.pdf

Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 1
Crossing the Line:
The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem
Fast Train
A new Israeli train line through
occupied West Bank areas
Who Profits from the Occupation
October 2010
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 2
The Coalition of Women for Peace
brings together ten feminist peace organizations and non-affiliated activist women
in Israel. Founded soon after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, CWP
today is a leading voice against the occupation, committed to feminist principles
of organizing and Jewish-Palestinian partnership in a relentless struggle for a
just peace. CWP continuously voices a critical position against militarism and
advocates for radical social and political change. Its work includes direct action
and public campaigning in Israel and internationally; a pioneering investigative
project exposing the occupation industry; outreach to Israeli audiences and political
empowerment of women across communities; and capacity-building and support
for grassroots activists and initiatives for peace and justice.
E-mail: cwp@coalitionofwomen.org
Website: www.coalitionofwomen.org
Who Profits from the Occupation
is a research project of the Coalition of Women for Peace. Initiated in response
to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel, this
research project is dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli
and international companies in the continuing Israeli control over Palestinian
and Syrian land. The project publishes information about these companies on
its website (www.whoprofits.org), produces in-depth reports and serves as an
information center.
3 Yegia Kapayim St., Tel Aviv, Israel
P.O.Box 29214, Tel Aviv 61292, Israel
Tel: 972-3-5281005
E-mail: whoprofits@yahoo.com
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 4
Introduction 5-6
Methodology 6
Part 1: The A1 train line and its implications
1.1 Is it legal? 8
1.2 Crossing the Green Line in the Latrun Enclave 9-10
1.3 Crossing the Green Line in Cedars Valley 11-12
1.3.1 Beit Surik: Israeli justice 13-15
1.3.2 Beit Iksa: a community under attack 16-19
1.4 Why go through the West Bank? 20
Part 2: Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
2.1 Foreign know-how and necessary expertise 22
2.2 Status of construction 23
2.3 Planners and Consultants 24
2.4 Section by section: what is being built and by whom 25-27
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 4
A new fast train line is planned to connect
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s two
main metropolitan centers, with two or
three trains an hour, in a 28-minute route.
This new train line, sometimes referred
to as the A1 train, is one of the biggest
infrastructure projects that the Israeli
government has undertaken in the last
decade. The route crosses official state
borders into the occupied West Bank in
two areas, using occupied Palestinian
land, some of it privately owned, for
an Israeli transportation project aimed
exclusively for Israelis.
Part 1 of the report follows the planned
route of the railway and its implications.
It discusses the planning process and
the legal considerations concerning
the route, describes the situation of the
Palestinian communities most affected by
the route and provides firsthand accounts
by the residents.
By crossing the Green Line border into the
West Bank, the A1 train line is unlawful
and unethical. According to international
law, an occupier may not use the occupied
resources solely for the benefit of its
own citizens. This line was planned for
the exclusive use of Israeli citizens; it is
imposed on the local Palestinian residents
by the dictates of a military regime, in
which they have no representation; and it
would be completely inaccessible to the
local residents. The 6 kilometers (3.75
miles) of the railway route which fall
outside the official Israeli state borders are
creating devastating effects on the three
Palestinian communities in the area.
Part 2 of the report focuses on the
involvement of Israeli and international
companies in the planning and
construction of the train line. Because
the project requires special expertise,
several international corporations have
been contracted to provide economic
and engineering consultancy, specialized
tunneling machinery and tunneling work.
The report identifies a number of
international corporations involved in
the project and lists some of the main
planners, consultants and contractors
for each section of the train line. These
contractors include two governmental
companies: Deutsche Bahn (Germany)
and Moscow Metrostroy (Russia), as
well as private European firms such as
Pizzarotti (Italy). As of October 2010, the
construction in most of the route is well
underway, but the main tunneling has not
yet begun and the deadline for completion
has been postponed to 2016-7.
Executive Summary
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 5
Palestinian residents by the dictates of
a military regime, in which they have no
representation; and it would be completely
inaccessible to the local residents.
The 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) of the
railway route which fall outside the official
Israeli state borders may seem like a
small infraction, but for three neighboring
Palestinian communities, already
shattered by a series of land confiscations
and draconian movement restrictions, this
railway line has devastating effects.
Building this train on occupied land is
totally unnecessary. The old train line
between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem does
not cross the international border. A
new and improved fast line could have
stayed within state borders, and in fact
such alternative routes were proposed
in the planning process. The choice to
cross the Green Line, and to cross it
A new train line is planned to connect Tel
Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s two main
metropolitan centers, with two or three
trains an hour, in a 28-minute route.
This new train line, sometimes referred
to as the A1 train, is one of the biggest
infrastructure projects that the Israeli
government has undertaken in the last
decade. Surprisingly, this route crosses
official state borders into the occupied
West Bank in two areas, using occupied
Palestinian lands, some of it privately
owned, for an Israeli transportation project
aimed exclusively for Israelis.
Once the planned train route crossed the
Green Line border into the West Bank, it
became unlawful and unethical. According
to international law, an occupier may
not use the occupied resources solely
for the benefit of its own citizens. This
line was planned for the exclusive use of
Israeli citizens; it is imposed on the local
Introduction
‘Deep soil for keeping’: Piles of extracted soil from the preliminary digging work, kept for later use. The
commercial use of any extracted soil from the occupied territory is illegal by international law. Picture taken
in the main logistics base for Section C of the A1 railway, near Sha’ar Hagay, October 2010.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 6
twice, was a deliberate choice, and a
careful look at it exposes some of the
workings of a distorted social, legal
and economic environment based in a
military occupation.
Part 1 of the report follows the planned
route of the railway and its implications.
The first chapter describes the planning
process, the legal considerations
concerning the route, and the ways in
which the planners dismissed them.
The next two chapters describe the two
areas where the route crosses the Green
Line border into the occupied area:
The Latrun Enclave and Cedars Valley.
The chapter on Cedars Valley includes
firsthand accounts by residents of the two
communities most affected by the route:
Beit Surik and Beit Iksa. Part 1 concludes
with the chapter “Why go through the
West Bank”, which discusses the choice of
the controversial route for the train.
Part 2 focuses on the involvement of
Israeli and international companies in
the planning and construction of the
train line. Because the project requires
Methodology
Research for this report was conducted using both desk studies and field research. The
desk studies included the collection and analysis of information from various public sources,
including: land confiscation orders, records of public hearings of the various planning boards,
court proceedings, different publications of the companies involved, of Israel Railways and
the Israeli Ministry of Transportation and two appeals for information based on the freedom
of information act.
The field research included visits to two of the communities most affected by the route of the
new railway, Beit Surik and Beit Iksa, interviews with officials from the local councils, local
farmers and land owners, visits to the railway’s construction sites and conversations with the
workers on site.
Two months prior to publication, we contacted all the companies mentioned in the report with
requests for their comments and responses. We have received no replies.
special expertise, several international
corporations have been contracted
to provide economic and engineering
consultancy, specialized tunneling
machinery and tunneling work. Part 2
includes a description of the status of
construction as of October 2010, and lists
some of the main planners, consultants
and contractors for each section of the
train line.
The Beit Surik Village Council has
explicitly called for international
intervention and support: “We, the people
of Beit Surik, do not want the train
line to be built on our land. We see as
fundamentally important that the people
of the world support our right to decide
on the use of our own land and help us
change the route of this train line”. (See
the complete letter in section 1.3.1 of
the report). As an Israeli organization
committed to ending the occupation, we
support the call of the Beit Surik Village
Council. We have created this report so
that others can become aware of, and
respond effectively to the destructive
effects of the A1 train route.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 7
Part 1
The A1 train line and
its implications
The Palestinian village of Beit Iksa,
overlooking the railway construction site in
Cedars Valley, a view from Road No. 1
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 8
The construction of the railway on
occupied land raises three legal
concerns. First, building a permanent
Israeli construction, such as a train line
on occupied Palestinian land is illegal
if it would not be accessible to local
Palestinian residents, according to both
international law and interpretations by
the Israeli Supreme Court. The Israeli
planning committee which discussed this
legal concern dismissed it based on a
proposed plan for a future expansion of
the Israeli railroad system, which would
connect it to the Palestinian cities of
Gaza and Ramallah. The suggested plan
is still in early planning stages; perhaps
someday it would allow Palestinians from
the occupied territory to use certain parts
of the Israeli railroad system. Presently,
given the conditions of occupation, the
siege of Gaza, the closure of the West
Bank and the general prohibition on
the entrance of Palestinians from the
occupied territory into Israel, this plan
is not politically viable. Its main use,
therefore, is for the planning committee
to act as if the construction is legal.
Second, privately owned lands which
belong to Palestinians from the areas of
Yalu, Bet Surik and Bet Iksa are used
both for the train and for a network of
access roads leading to the construction
sites. The Palestinian land owners with
the Israeli organization Peace Now1
have appealed to the Israeli planning
committee, claiming that land owners
were not properly informed and the
land confiscations did not follow the
procedures specified by Israeli law. All
of the appeals were dismissed, and in
one case the fact of the appeal was used
as proof that the owners were indeed
properly notified.
A third legal issue concerns the mined
material to be extracted from the train
tunnels. This material is to be reprocessed
and sold whenever possible, or used
as filling by the contractor in prescribed
areas. About 530,000 cbm are estimated
to be extracted from the first tunnel
alone, almost entirely from within the
occupied Palestinian territory. Another
515,000 cbm will be extracted from
the two other tunnels which cross into
occupied areas, two thirds of which is
estimated as reusable material, to be
used by the contractor or sold for use in
the construction industry. The two tunnel
portals in the occupied area would be
used to transfer vast amounts of dirt on
specially built access roads through the
West Bank, causing high levels of air
pollution and creating health hazards for
neighboring communities.
Any use of the extracted material other
than for the benefit of the Palestinian
population is a violation of international
law, which explicitly forbids the
exploitation of natural resources from
the occupied area by the occupier for its
own gain. However, dirt from within the
occupied area would probably be used
as filling in settlement quarries in the
occupied area, and the proceeds from
the sale of reusable material would go
to the Israeli Civil Administration. None
of it, however, would benefit the local
Palestinian population.
The planning committee which heard and
dismissed all of these legal concerns
is the “Civil Administration Central
Planning Board”, which is in fact an Israeli
military committee, situated inside an
Israeli military base, in Beit El, an Israeli
settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
1“An Objection to the Expansion of Israel Railways’ Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Line”, Peace Now News, May 11th, 2009, available
at: http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=66&docid=3646
1.1 Is it legal?
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 9
The first area where the A1 train route
crosses the Green Line border into
the occupied territories is in the Latrun
Enclave. This segment was included
in the original plan, issued in 1996 and
approved in 2001. It is about three km
long, starting at the end of the Ayalon
Bridge (Bridge 6) and continuing with a
tunnel (Tunnel 1).
The Latrun enclave was occupied in the
1967 war; the three Palestinian villages
in it, Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba, were
totally destroyed and their residents
evicted. To prevent their return, the area
has been declared a closed military
zone ever since. Additionally, an Israeli
settlement separates the enclave from
the rest of the West Bank (Mevo Horon)
and a large part of the area was declared
a national park2. Israel has deemed this
area strategically important due to its
proximity to the Tel Aviv - Jerusalem road.
Today, this main highway, called Israel’s
Road No. 1, goes through the Latrun
Enclave. The Separation Fence was built
east of the enclave inside the West Bank,
leaving the entire Latrun Enclave on the
Israeli side of the Fence.
As can be seen in Map 1, The Green
Line is a double border in this area,
with the area between the borders
marking the pre-1967 no-man’s land.
The Mevo Horon settlement (in blue) is
strategically located to close the Enclave
off to Palestinians. The new Beit Nuba
village is where some of the displaced
and dispossessed refugees reside; they
are unable to return to their lands in the
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
2 “Remembering Imwas, Yalu and Bayt Nuba”, ed. Amar Aghbaria, Zochrot 2007, (Hebrew and Arabic),
available at: http://www.zochrot.org/images/latrun_booklet_web2.pdf
1.2 Crossing the Green Line: The Latrun Enclave
Map 1: The train route through the Latrun Enclave (Courtesy of Peace Now)
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 10
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
Enclave. The separation fence (marked
in black), annexes, de facto, the Enclave
into Israel. Road No. 1 to Jerusalem (in
light gray) crosses the Green Line, but the
train route (bridges are marked in red and
tunnels in black and white) cross deeper,
cutting through the Latrun Enclave.
When the Israeli military planning
committee discussed objections filed
by the Palestinian land owners in July
of 2005, alternative routes to the A1
train route included one option further
south, through the Ayalon Valley, within
the borders of the State of Israel. The
committee decided to dismiss this
option because of possible harm to
the Ayalon Valley, which would “raise
severe objections [by preservation
bodies] that would halt all development
for many years and perhaps cancel the
plan altogether”.
Bridge 6, already built, crosses into the Latrun Enclave
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 11
The Israeli residents of Mevaseret filed
objections to this plan, and demanded that
the tunnel portals be moved at least 500
meters further north. Three fast trains an
hour, going in and out of the mountain,
would probably create a serious noise
pollution, destroy the view of the natural
valley and consequently would decrease
property value. The residents’ petition was
not accepted in full: the new “intermediary”
route, adopted mid-2005, is not as close
to the neighborhood as originally planned,
but is still visible from its houses.
The new route cuts into the lands of the
neighboring Palestinian villages of Bet
Iksa and Bet Surik, which lie on opposite
sides of Cedars Valley. Additionally,
access roads to all tunnel portals and
waste removal tunnels, needed during
the construction phase, will take up more
agricultural lands and cross into village
residents’ private lands.
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
1.3 Crossing the Green Line: Cedars Valley
The second area in which the route
crosses into the occupied West Bank is
near the Palestinian villages of Bet Surik
and Bet Iksa (See Map 2). The route in this
area consists of a tunnel – the end of the
long tunnel (Tunnel 3) that comes out into
Arazim (or Cedars) Valley, a bridge (bridge
no. 9) over the valley and a second tunnel
(Tunnel 3A).
The train route in this area passes just
250-300 meters (850-1000 feet) north of
the Green Line border into the occupied
area. This infringement was not in the
original plans. The original route went
through the north-most outskirts of the
nearby Israeli town of Mevaseret Zion,
with the tunnels opening to a bridge over
Cedars Valley next to the houses of the
Israeli neighborhood of Reches Halilim
(lit. “Flutes Ridge”), which borders the
Green Line. (Some of the houses in its
outskirts are even beyond the Green Line.)
Map 2: The train route crosses the Green Line into Cedars Valley (Courtesy of Peace Now)
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 12
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
These two villages, at the west entrance
to Jerusalem, have traditionally used
Jerusalem as the main municipal center for
services and as a market for their goods
and labor. When cut off from access to the
city by the closures and then the separation
fence, the main remaining livelihood of
residents is based on agriculture, primarily
tending olive and plum orchards. But the
construction of the fence has also deprived
both communities of access to a large
percentage of their farm land: some of it
was confiscated for the construction of the
fence and some remained on its other side.
More lands would be lost to the new train,
some for the construction, some for the
actual route, and some, the residents fear,
would remain inaccessible to the farmers
for “security” considerations, forbidding
access to a wide area near the train route.
The construction site in Cedars Valley, with the Israeli town Mevaseret in the background, a view from Beit Iksa.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 13
Beit Surik became famous in May of 2004,
when its petition against the Government
of Israel in the Israeli Supreme Court won
an unprecedented victory, forcing the state
to tear down the separation fence built in
the area and rebuild it in a way that would
minimize the harm to the local residents:3
The Court found that the “relationship
between the injury to the local inhabitants
and the security benefit from the
construction of the separation fence along
the route, as determined by the military
commander, is not proportionate. …Here
are the facts: more than 13,000 farmers
are cut off from thousands of dunams
of their land and from tens of thousands
of trees which are their livelihood, and
which are located on the other side of the
separation fence. No attempt was made to
seek out and provide them with substitute
land, despite our oft repeated proposals on
that matter. [...] The route of the separation
fence severely violates their right of
property and their freedom of movement.
Their livelihood is severely impaired.
The difficult reality of life from which they
have suffered (due, for example, to high
unemployment in that area) will only
become more severe.”
However, the same Supreme Court
ruling also reaffirmed the authority of the
Israeli military commander to build the
fence inside the occupied area, and the
village of Beit Surik still lost about 31%
of its lands to the fence even after the
route’s correction.
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
1.3.1 Beit Surik: Israeli justice
3 “Beit Sourik Village Council v. The Government of Israel”, HCJ 2056/04, Israel: Supreme Court, 30 May 2004, available at:
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4374ac594.html
View from Beit Surik towards the separation fence
The separation fence
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 14
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
There are about 4000 residents in the
village, and the occupation determines
their work options. Following the
construction of the separation fence,
day workers could no longer work
in Jerusalem, and they were left
unemployed. About 30% of the village’s
livelihood relies on agriculture: they
grow plums, olives, and hot-houses
tomatoes and cucumbers. For many
villagers agricultural work was no longer
an option since access to much of the
village’s land was cut off by the fence.
In a meeting with the Beit Surik
Council in July 2010, they noted that
the new train will cut off access to
more lands “in the name of ‘security’
for the train”. New confiscation
orders which have already been
handed out suggest that there may
be another change planned in the
route of the fence. Council members
Beit Surik cultivated land near the planned construction
estimated that about 90-100 families
in the village will be affected. But
the estimates are all tentative, since
the village council has received no
plans, no formal notices. Although the
construction of the railroad on village
lands is underway, the residents and
owners receive very little information
from the occupation authorities:
“We do not know where the train route
will be. We have received no notice.
The Israeli army throws papers over
the fence.” According to the head of the
Beit Surik Council, Abu Fares (Ahmad
Omr AlJamal), residents found military
confiscation orders tossed near the
fence on March 27th 2010. The plans
were never formally delivered. “They
said these were plans from 2004, but
they never informed us. They make all
these decisions between themselves,
the army and the government”.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 15
August 2010
To whom it may concern,
benefits, flaunt modified. benefit. Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
We are writing to declare our objection to the proposed route of the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train line,
which passes through land belonging to the village of Beit Surik, in the district of Jerusalem in the
West Bank.
The proposed route of the train line passes through agricultural land that was deemed necessary by
the Supreme Court of Israel during the construction of the Apartheid Wall to preserve as part of Beit
Surik for the wellbeing of the village population.
This train line would bring inconvenience and suffering to the village in terms of the lost land and in
noise pollution, without any benefifits, as the train is to connect areas that village residents, with West
Bank ID cards, are not allowed to enter.
We understand that people of the Israeli settlement Mevaseret Zion appealed in 2005 to distance
the planned route from their habitation due to noise pollution. It is unacceptable that the people of
Beit Surik should suffer this noise pollution in their place.
Beit Surik was successful in challenging the route of the Apartheid Wall that surrounds the village,
when the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in 2004 that “the route of sections of a wall in the area of
Judea and Samaria ('the West Bank') be changed in order to avoid unnecessary hardship to the
local Palestinian population.”
The village nonetheless lost 3000 dunams of land through the construction of the Wall. The
proposed train line threatens to take away even more.
Beit Surik is one of a handful of Palestinian villages to have successfully challenged the course
of the Apartheid Wall in the Israeli court, and we believe that planning this railway on the land
recovered by the village stands as a direct challenge to that court ruling.
Moreover, under International Law, the Israeli state has no right to determine the use of land in
Areas B and C of the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank. This proposal seems intended
as a broader demonstration that despite the ruling of Israeli courts against the Israeli government,
the Israeli government will nonetheless flflaunt both international and its own laws to colonize
Palestinian land as part of the Zionist project.
We urge that this proposal be modifified. The train line should be constructed on land that has
already been appropriated from West Bank villages, now lying on the Israeli side of the wall, as the
service is exclusively for Israeli use and benefifit. We, the people of Beit Surik, do not want the train
line to be built on our land. We see as fundamentally important that the people of the world support
our right to decide on the use of our own land and help us change the route of this train line.
Signed:
Village Council
Beit Surik, Palestine
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 16
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
1.3.2 Beit Iksa: a community under attack
Beit Iksa is a small Palestinian village,
surrounded by olive groves in the hills
overlooking the entrance to Jerusalem.
Its proximity to Road No. 1, to the new
train bridge and to the main entrance to
Jerusalem has created “an attack on the
village on all fronts” as described by the
Head of the local council, Abu Shadi. “We
do not know where to start: the checkpoint,
the fence, settlement expansion on our
lands, settler attacks, soldiers in the valley.
The train is just one part of it all”, he said
in an interview in July of 2010.
The separation fence in the area was
planned to separate the village from
the rest of the West Bank, including the
neighboring Palestinian villages of Beit
4 “Between Fences: The Enclaves Created by the Separation Barrier”, Bimkom 2006, available at: http://eng.bimkom.org/
Index.asp?ArticleID=91&CategoryID=125&Page=1
Map 3: The planned and “temporary” separation fences near Beit Iksa (Courtesy of Shai Efrati and Peace Now)
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 17
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
Surik and Bidu, leaving it trapped between
the fence and the Green Line border in
the “Seam Zone”, on the “Israeli side” of
the separation fence4. Like the council
of Beit Surik, Beit Iksa’s council has
appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court
against the planned route of the fence
and the devastation it would bring. Their
appeal was rejected in September 2006,
after the Israeli government announced a
change in route of the fence in the area.
The changed route would not trap Beit
Iksa in the Seam Zone; it would be built
between Beit Iksa and the neighboring
Israeli settlement Ramot, which is a
neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The route of the separation fence was
changed due to an on-going debate among
Israeli authorities which has nothing to do
with the Palestinian residents’ appeals.
On the one hand, the Israeli Police and
the General Security Services wanted
to separate the village from Jerusalem,
in order to protect the city from what
they described as a possible influx of
unauthorized Palestinian workers to
Jerusalem through Beit Iksa, which they
saw as a security threat. On the other
hand, together with neighboring Israeli
residents in Ramot and Mevaseret, the
Ministry of Defense saw a security threat
in having the fence too close to the
settlement’s houses, the road and the
bridge. In their view, to keep terrorists and
snipers away, the fence had to be built
on higher ground on the other side of the
village, leaving Beit Iksa on the Israeli side.
The Israeli government decided in April
2006 that the route of the fence should
separate Beit Iksa from Ramot and
Jerusalem, but this fence was never built.
Instead, in July 2009, a “temporary” fence
was built separating Beit Iksa and Cedars’
Valley from the neighboring Palestinian
villages. On the other side of the village,
the valley between Beit Iksa and Ramot
is monitored by surveillance cameras and
patrolled by army jeeps. It operates as a
“virtual fence,” with no one allowed to cross
it: and farmers with land in the area are
often prevented from working their lands.
In June 2010, without prior notice, the
only road from Beit Iksa to the Ramot
Checkpoint was closed by the army;
the only entrance to the village today is
through a special military checkpoint. Only
Palestinians who are registered as living
in the village are allowed to cross the Beit
Iksa checkpoint and enter the village. In
July 2010, trucks carrying supplies to the
village were not let through. The village,
once a suburb of Jerusalem and a short
walking distance from the Jerusalem
neighborhood of Ramot, is now a driving
distance of about 35 km (22 miles) away
from the city. The only way to get to
Jerusalem from the village now is by using
back roads leading through the Beit Iksa
checkpoint to Bidu and then to Ramallah
and the Qalandia checkpoint. Of the
2200 villagers, about 40% have an Israeli
residency status since they are considered
residents of East Jerusalem. Many of them
find that they have to leave the village and
are relocating to Jerusalem.
The new Beit Iksa Checkpoint
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 18
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
Beit Iksa has lost about 60% of its lands
to nearby settlements and the separation
fence5. As with all Area C villages (areas
of the West Bank which are under full
Israeli control), only the built area in the
village, about 600 dunams (approx. 148
acres), is approved for development. 2200
dunams (approx. 543 acres) were taken up
for settlement construction. A whole new
housing project and a new playground for
children are presently being built in Ramot,
on Beit Iksa lands. According to the village
council, the new memorial for the victims of
September 11, built next to the Green Line,
is also on Beit Iksa lands.
In July 2010, 300 dunams (approx. 74
acres) of the village olive orchards near
Ramot were set on fire. Although the entire
area is under continuous surveillance by the
Israeli army, the perpetrators were neither
stopped nor caught. The village called the
5 Case study report: “Israel hits Beit Iksa, Nabi Samuel and Beit Surik with new military order in favor of the Segregation Wall”,
Monitoring Israeli Colonizing activities in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)
and Land Research Center (LRC), January 17, 2007, http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=980
Israeli fire brigade, but it never arrived.
By the time of our meeting with the village
council in July 2010, they had received no
written plan for the new train; they even
described receiving misleading information
from the Israeli authorities. The construction
has just begun on the mountainside next
to the village, and not on the side they
had anticipated. Olive groves near the
construction area are still accessible to the
village farmers but only on donkeys or by
foot; lands confiscated for the construction
made the whole area inaccessible to
vehicles. The residents fear that once the
train is built, the entire area will become
inaccessible to them for “security” reasons.
This is an area of about 1500 dunams
(approx. 370 acres), and the residents are
concerned about the olive trees in it which
are ancient olive trees, some of them dating
back to Roman times.
Olive orchard in Beit Iksa near the west entrance to the city of Jerusalem
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 19
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
Hashem Hababa was picking olives on his
land in the valley between the village and
Ramot. An army jeep approached, and the
soldiers pointed a gun at him and said they
would shoot him if he did not go back to the
village. He was treated as if he was a day
worker trying to enter Jerusalem without the
proper permits, and nothing he said changed
their minds.
In the area blocked for the train, Hashem
and his immediate family (14 people) own 5
dunams (1.2 acres), and his extended family
(about 350 people) owns about 200 dunams
(approx. 50 acres) of olive groves. His family
has also lost land for the Ramot checkpoint.
He explains that every family lost some: if not
for the train, then for the playground; if not for
the playground, then in the valley; and if not in
the valley then for the new settlement house;,
and the rest they have already lost to the wall.
“If we appeal to the Israeli courts,” he says,
“and if we win the trial – the Israelis will just
change the law… But we will never lose hope.”
Abu Shadi owns about 30 dunams (7.5
acres) near the construction area. These are
ancient olive trees, dating back to Roman
times. He found flag markers all around his
land, in preparation for the construction of
the train route. He took these down. Some
of his land had been confiscated in the past
for the Ramot checkpoint, which is no longer
accessible to the village residents. He also
owns about 120 dunams (30 acres) in the
neighboring village of Nabi a Samwil, which
he cannot even visit.
Abu Shadi, head of the council of Beit Iksa, with land confiscated from the village
Hashem Hababa, mathematics teacher in the village, showing the construction area
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 20
Part 1 The A1 train line and its implications
1.4 Why go through the West Bank?
The two places where the train route
crosses the Green Line border into the area
occupied in 1967 may seem small in size
and politically insignificant, but they both
have immense adverse impact on the daily
lives, health, livelihood, property and future
of the Palestinian residents in their vicinity
(many of whom are already internally
displaced persons, driven away from their
homes following the war of 1967).
The first deviation of the train route into the
occupied land in the Latrun Enclave was
justified as the shortest path; the second
in Cedars Valley actually lengthens the
route of the train. In the Latrun case, the
use of Palestinian land was justified by the
planning committee using the claim that the
Palestinians had already been expelled from
the land; in the Cedars Valley case it was
claimed that a tunnel and a bridge would not
The east end of Bridge 6, at the point of entry into Tunnel 1, deep inside the Latrun Enclave
really prevent the Palestinian land owners
from continuing to use their land. In both
cases, the separation fence has annexed
the entire train route into the Israeli side,
and cut the two areas from the rest of the
West Bank.
In both cases, the Israeli planners
decided to move the route into the military
occupation’s jurisdiction to avoid having to
negotiate a compromise with Israeli citizens.
In both cases, the objections of Israeli
citizens were seen as a great obstacle,
and the objections of Palestinian residents
were readily dismissed by the Israeli military
planning board. In both cases, preserving
the Israeli landscape and property value
was chosen over preserving Palestinian
land and livelihood and upholding basic
rights of Palestinians, thus violating
international law.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 21
Part 2
Corporate involvement
in the A1 train line
The entrance to the main logistics base
for the construction of Section C of the
railway, October 2010
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 22
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
2.1 Foreign know-how and necessary expertise
The overall plan includes what would
become the longest, highest bridge in
Israel, as well as the longest tunnel,
requiring the use of tunnel boring
machines never used in the country
before. The Israeli contractors for
these sections were therefore required
to partner with foreign contractors with
the relevant know how and experience.
The foreign knowledge brought in
for these long tunnels is crucial
for the project, and it was a formal
requirement in some of the contracts.
The machinery for these tunnels is
also unavailable in Israel, and has to
be built specially for this project by
international suppliers.
We have identified a number of
international corporations that have
been involved in the project, including
two governmental companies: Deutsche
Bahn and Moscow Metrostroy, as well as
private European firms such as Impresa
Pizzarotti and HBI Haerter. A major
partner contracted to do the tunneling,
the Austrian Alpine Bau, chose to back
out of the project before construction had
started. As of October 2010, preparatory
works for the tunneling of the long tunnels
in the occupied area are underway,
but the special tunnel boring machines
(TBMs) have not yet arrived and the
foreign companies contracted to do the
tunneling have not started working yet.
The Italian firm Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. was contracted to dig the tunnel into Cedars Valley using
specialized tunnel boring machines. Picture taken near the portal of Tunnel 2, in the main logistics
base for Section C, Sha’ar Hagay, October 2010.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 23
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
2.2 Status of construction
The rail project has encountered countless
setbacks since the beginning of planning
in 1995. Objections to the route came
from environmental organizations as
well as from local Israeli and Palestinian
residents along the route. After dozens
of planning committee discussions and
court sessions and two highly critical State
Controller reports, the original deadline
was delayed by almost ten years, to
2016-7, and the original cost assessment
doubled to about 6 billion NIS (1.67 billion
USD). Only recently has the construction
of contested sections of the project begun
on the ground. The project has been
divided into four sections; of these, one
has been completed, and in two others the
construction has begun.
Preparation digging for Tunnel 2 in the main logistics base for Section C, Sha’ar Hagay, January 2010.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 24
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
2.3 Planners and consultants
Amy Metom Engineers and Consultants
A private Israeli firm which was contracted by
Israeli Railways to plan the entire route (A1).
DB International, of the Deutsche Bahn
Group
A firm which belongs to the Federal
Republic of Germany, contracted by Israel
Railways to do the engineering for the
rails electrification project, a $550 million
project, between the years 2002 and
2013. The company was also specifically
contracted to plan the electrification of
the A1 train line by Amy Metom, the
line planners. During 2005 the company
submitted specific independent reports for
Israel Railways comparing the feasibility
of different route options for the A1 route.
They recommended the present route.
Parsons Brinckerhoff
An American firm which provided the
Israeli ministry of finance with financial
management oversight services of Israel
Railways development programs from
October 2004 to June 2009. In late
2005, as part of these services, Parsons
Brinckerhoff inspected and monitored
the planning and approval processes of
alternative routes for the A1 train line. The
company has also monitored and approved
the various tenders issued for contractors
for various sections of this project.
Parsons Brinckerhoff was purchased in
September 2009 by Balfour Beatty plc, a
public British firm traded on the London
stock exchange.
As with any national infrastructure project of such magnitude, dozens of companies
have been contracted for the planning, management and construction work. The
following list includes some of the main companies contracted as planners and
consultants for the entire route:
HBI Haerter
A Swiss engineering firm which
provided consulting and planning
services to Amy Metom during 2006
concerning the tunnels ventilation in the
A1 line.
A.B. Plan
A private Israeli firm, contracted by the
Israel Ministry of Transportation during
2008 to check the economic feasibility
of the A1 train line.
A sign on Bridge 6, in the Latrun Enclave, specifying
the companies involved in the construction of
the bridge: Baran Projects (management and
supervision), Amy Metom (planning), and Minrav
Engineering and Construction (construction).
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 25
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
2.4 Section by section: what is being built and by whom
Section A: Section A is mostly inside the
internationally recognized borders of the
state of Israel. It stretches from the Ben
Gurion airport to the Ayalon Valley, ending
at the Ayalon Bridge (bridge number 6). In
its last 150 meters, the bridge crosses into
the Latrun Enclave, beyond the Green Line.
This section has already been completed.
The Latrun railway bridge (bridge no.
6) has been built by the publicly traded
Israeli Minrav Group. A second company,
the Baran Group, also traded on the Tel
Aviv stock exchange, has provided the
project management for this section.
Section B: This section starts inside the
occupied Latrun Enclave, and continues
with a 3.5 km (2.1 mile)-long double tunnel
(Tunnel 1); almost all of it lies in the 1967
occupied area. This section ends outside
the enclave, with Bridge 7 in Sha’ar
Hagay. The construction of this section
has not begun, in fact the tenders for this
section were the last to be published, and
the construction companies which won the
contracts were just recently announced.
The same Minrav Group that that built
Bridge 6 was contracted to continue it
Bridge 6, with a sign of the Minrav Group with the Latrun tunnel. The partnership
Map 4: The four sections of the Tel Aviv- Jerusalem A1 train route (Courtesy of Peace Now)
B
A
C
D
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 26
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
that won the contract for section B, for
about 660 million NIS (183 million USD),
also includes the Russian OJSC Moscow
Metrostroy, a company owned by the
Russian Federation, which would provide
the necessary experience in tunneling of
such long tunnels.
Section C: This is the longest section
in the route, about 30 km (18.6 miles)
long, and it has been described as the
most complicated. It starts in a logistics
base and an industrial complex in Sha’ar
Hagay, inside the no-man zone of the
Latrun Enclave. The base would include
residences for the workers in section C, a
dedicated cement plant, storage areas for
waste from the dig, and facilities for the
special tunneling machinery.
The route in section C includes Tunnel
2 which leads from Sha’ar Hagay to Ytla
Valley. Then it crosses two bridges over
the valley and back into the mountain to an
11.5km (7 miles) long tunnel (Tunnel 3),
which would become the longest tunnel in
the country. Tunnel 3 crosses the Green
Line border as it exits into Cedars Valley,
and its portal in the valley is inside the
Palestinian territory, near Beit Surik. This
tunnel requires the construction of a network
of access roads for the special tunnel
boring machines and for the removal of vast
amounts of dirt and waste from the tunnel,
leading away from the portal in Cedars
Valley, all inside the occupied area and on
Palestinian land.
The contract to construct this section was
awarded in October 2007 to a partnership
of two companies, the Israeli private firm
Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering, and
the Austrian Alpine Bau (for its knowhow
and experience in TBM tunneling). This
contract is worth over 2 billion NIS. The
construction of this section has been halted
for years, due to insistent objections of
green and environmental organizations
A sign at the entrance of the main logistics base of Section C, showing an aerial photo of the area. The
base will include housing, storage and an industrial complex at the west portal of Tunnel 2.
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 27
in Israel. The alternatives offered by the
environmentalists were rejected by the
government, and in January 2010 work
restarted in Sha’ar Hagay. Meanwhile,
Alpine has backed down from the project,
and a new tunneling expert replaced it,
bringing in its international expertise – the
private Italian firm Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A.
The two companies have formed the new
partnership S.P.R. Construction, Shapir
Pizzarotti Railways, and construction has
begun in preparation for the arrival of the
TBM machines later in 2011.
Supervision of quality assurance and
quality control for S.P.R. Construction
is provided by the Israeli private firm
Yugan Engineering. Another private
Israeli firm, Eldad Spivak Engineering
has won the contract for the management
of sections B and C for Israel Railways.
The contract includes supervision of the
plans and contractors, coordination and
management of the construction and
quality control.
Section D: Starting in Cedars Valley, in
the occupied area facing Beit Iksa, section
D includes Bridge no. 9 over the valley
and Tunnel 3A which goes back into the
mountain, all of which are still in the occupied
Part 2 Corporate involvement in the A1 train line
area. Then it continues with another bridge
and another tunnel, Tunnel 4, which leads
into the city of Jerusalem, to an underground
train station in Binyanei Ha’uma. For this
section, all the contractors have been
chosen, and works are well under way.
The tunnels in the section are short, and
do not require TBMs or foreign expertise.
A private Israeli firm, Hofrey Hasharon,
has been contracted to build parts of
section D, including digging Tunnel 3A
from Cedars Valley.
A sign in the entrance of the construction site for
Section C, October 2010
Machinery with the logo of Shapir Engineering, in
the construction site for Section C, January 2010
Crossing the Line: The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Fast Train Who Profits from the Occupation 28
3 Yegia Kapayim St., Tel Aviv, Israel | P.O.Box 29214, Tel Aviv 61292, Israel
Tel: 972-3-5281005 | E-mail: whoprofits@yahoo.com | Website: www.whoprofits.org

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