May 10, 2011 : News in Brief - Resisting

admin's picture

- Deutsche Bahn withdraws new railway line project from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

- Anti-nuclear blockade of EDF Energy

Deutsche Bahn withdraws new railway line project from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, has pulled out of the railway line project, to be built from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, due to the controversial route that passes through occupied Palestinian territory. The decision was the result of pressure from a group of German peace activists and a Palestinian initiative which had been criticising the commitment of Deutsche Bahn over a period of months.

According to a report by the German daily newspaper, Der Spiegel, Federal Transport Minister, Peter Ramsauer (CSU), had informed the Deutsche Bahn CEO Ruediger Grube on the political sensitivity of the project. Referring to Deutsche Bahn, the magazine reported that DB regarded the route to be “problematic” under the “terms of international law”.

The German company had already advised Israel Railways on aspects of the railway, such as electrification. Deutsche Bahn will continue other work in Israel, but not on the railway project. The controversial route will connect the two largest Israeli cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, by 2017. The travel time will be reduced to 28 minutes.

It is exceptional that a public German company is acting, once again, against Israeli interests on explicitly political grounds. In contrast, no German politicians and no German companies have any problems in doing business with the state of Iran. This leaves questions around what 'political sensitivity' means for Deutsche Bahn and how and why it is being applied in the context of the railway.

Anti-nuclear blockade of EDF Energy

Activists blockaded the Queen's back yard to brand energy giant EDF Energy's nuclear power bid a 'right royal rip-off'! Rush hour traffic was brought to a standstill on Wednesday morning to protest against EDF Energy’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. All four lanes of the A302 outside EDF Energy’s headquarters in Grosvenor Place – which runs alongside the gardens of Buckingham Palace – were sealed off shortly after 8am using 14-foot tripods. The cleared zone was then declared a ‘nuclear disaster area’.

Campaign group, Boycott EDF, says the energy giant is spearheading a ‘nuclear renaissance’ which could see the construction of at least ten new nuclear reactors and will mean soaring electricity bills.

Recent research in Germany has found that young children are more than twice as likely to contract leukaemia if they live near a nuclear power station. Boycott EDF insists that nuclear power is the worst possible option for combating climate change.

EDF has already caused great concern - even before construction of ‘new nuclear’ has started. An independent report published last year found that land designated for EDF’s two new mega-reactors at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset is heavily contaminated with enriched uranium. But EDF has dismissed the report.

The campaign is urging customers of EDF Energy to say ‘no to new nuclear’ by switching to other energy providers. It is also asking the public to boycott events and attractions - such as the London Eye - sponsored by the company.