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Italian Town Council condemns Pizzarotti over Israeli high-speed train

Italian Town Council condemns Pizzarotti over involvement in Israeli high-speed train crossing the occupied Palestinian territories

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train calls on the Italian government to following the example of other European countries and discourage Italian companies from operating in violation of international law

On December 27, the town council of Villar Focchiardo, in the province of Torino, voted unanimously to approve a resolution condemning Pizzarotti & Co SpA of Parma for its involvement in the Israeli high-speed railway crossing the occupied West Bank. The railway, which will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, runs for 6.5 km through the occupied Palestinian territories in blatant violation of international law, resulting in the confiscation of Palestinian land and pillaging of property belonging to the occupied territory for the construction of a railway for the near exclusive use of Israeli citizens.

Villar Focchiardo is the sixth local government to approve a similar resolution.[1] The measure holds special significance given that the municipality is located in the Val Susa, where for over 20 years local communities, together with supporters throughout Italy, have lead the No TAV popular struggle against a high-speed train through the valley. In October 2013, a delegation from the No TAV movement visited the occupied Palestinian territories where they were able to observe firsthand how the continuous loss of Palestinian land is instrumental to "breaking up the territory".[2]

Last summer, the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq published a legal opinion on the question, finding that there are "substantial grounds" to hold Pizzarotti responsible for acts that "can amount to serious violations of international law such as the war crimes of pillage and of destruction and appropriation of property."[3] It was for these reasons that Deutsche Bahn withdrew from the project in 2011.[4]

In addition to political and moral condemnation of Pizzarotti, the resolution commits the mayor of Villar Focchiardo and his administration to evaluate the possibility of adding a clause providing for the "exclusion of companies and economic entities operating in violation of human rights and/or international law" in the town’s regulations regarding the participation in municipal tenders for public works.

The resolution of Villar Focchiardo comes at a time when European governments and companies are taking measures to avoid complicity with Israeli violations of international law. In recent months, three Dutch companies, on advice from the Dutch government, cut ties with Israeli settlements.[5] In December 2013, the British government published guidelines warning of "clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements," stating they neither encourage nor offer support for such activities.[6] Romania banned its construction workers from working in the construction of Israeli settlements due to their illegality under international law. [7] And new European Union guidelines, in force since January 1, 2014, prohibit awarding EU grants to projects in the illegal settlements or issuing EU loans to any entity operating in the Israeli settlements. [8]

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train applauds the consistency shown by Villar Focchiardo and other local governments in working to ensure that Italian companies profiting from violations of international law have no access to public funds. Stop That Train invites municipal councils throughout Italy to adopt similar resolutions and calls on the Italian Government, in perfect line with European policy of not recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories, to actively discourage Italian companies from continuing or engaging in activities with Israeli companies or entities operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Italian Coalition Stop That Train

The Italian Coalition Stop That Train comprises some 90 local, national and international organizations, including from Israel, and calls for the withdrawal of Pizzarotti S.p.A. from the Israeli A1 rail project. Stop That Train is part of BDS Italy, a movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, made up of associations and groups throughout Italy who have joined the 2005 BDS call by Palestinian civil society.


[1] Rho (Milano)


Vomero - Arenella (Naples)

Corchiano (Viterbo)

Sasso Marconi (Bologna)

Villar Focchiardo (Torino)

[2] From Italy to Israel/Palestine: Activists share insights on popular struggle

[3] Tunnelling Activities and War Crimes: Why Pizzarotti Could Be Found Responsible for Grave Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

[4] Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Response to Written Question

[5] Dutch firm withdraws from sewage plant for settlers in East Jerusalem

Dutch water company terminates relationship with Mekerot following government advice

PGGM – Statement regarding exclusion of Israeli banks

[6] UK government warns businesses about illegal Israeli settlement enterprise

[7] Romania refuses to allow its workers to build illegal settlements in the West Bank

[8] EU acknowledges obligation to not recognize Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory



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