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Jerusalem Light Rail on Fast Track to Keep Capital United

Jerusalem’s deputy mayor vowed to derail a PA attempt for a Arab boycott of the contractor of the light rail system that reaches eastern Jerusalem.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/17/2009, 6:02 PM / Last Update: 11/17/2009, 9:39 PM

Israel news photo

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari vowed on Tuesday to derail Palestinian Authority threats of an Arab boycott of the builder of the city’s light rail system that reaches eastern Jerusalem.

Responding to PA declarations earlier in the day, Hadari described the PA threat as “scandalous.” He stated, “We will not allow the PA to interfere in such a crass way with the domestic matters of Israel in general, and of Jerusalem in particular. I think the government must block this attempt with all its means, and the city will do everything possible to strengthen ties with the contractor.”

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee said the light rail traverses "occupied territory" and allegedly violates international law. PA officials said they are trying to recruit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among other Arab countries, to boycott the French-based firms Veolia and Alstrom. The latter is also building a multi-billion dollar project in Mecca.

Hadari drew a connection between the PA’s attempted boycott and a request by the American government that Israel stop building in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, on the southern edge of the city. He said both issues are a result of what he called the “stuttering” policy of the Netanyahu government,which he said "needs to make clear to the entire world that Jerusalem is our united capital, will not be divided and is not a subject for negotiations.”

The deputy mayor suggested encouraging construction in all areas of the city with grants and benefits, "to help the world understand that we are serious in our intentions, and then they will stop interfering in our internal affairs."