BigMo’s Blog

Politics and Economics in Israel

Palestinians Respond Loud & Clear to Obama – but is anybody listening?

On-line business paper, The Globes, reported that the Palestinians are pressing Saudi Arabia to cancel a tender to build a high-speed railway in that country, which was won by a French company.  Why?  Because the company is part of a consortium building a light-rail project in Jerusalem.

The French companies involved in the Jerusalem light rail project, are led by Alstom and Veolia.  Alstom (the supplier of the trains) and Veolia (the project operator) have been with the Jerusalem light rail project since its inception several years ago.  The companies have been admirable for standing up to the political pressure put on them, especially since the second intifada in 2003.  Alstom is a 20% partner in the consortium.

Of course, if you have been in Jerusalem lately, you are only too painfully aware of the utter chaos the project has been playing with traffic in the city. Behind schedule, over budget and wreaking havoc on downtown business, it is a wonder that an Alstom-led consortium won another contract of this type! Perhaps the Saudis figure that the Israelis paid for Alstom’s learning curve.

Of course, the tender-winner’s poor performance is not the reason the Palestinians are giving for the pressure they are bringing to bear, which also includes law-suits in French courts.  The see Jerusalem – at least East Jerusalem – as their future capital.  Ignore the fact that they have no historical claims to the city.  Ignore the fact that there is no example of a divided city that ever worked.   Ignore the fact that residents of Jerusalem – Muslim, Christian and Jewish – might want a more convenient way to get from one end of the city to another.

And, of course, ignore Barack Obama’s pleas that they stop acting like children having a tantrum and start acting like responsible leaders.  Is President O. going to lift up the phone and make a call to Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah?   Probably not.  Because hypocrites don’t do that sort of thing.  You see, it would be admitting that his pretty words failed!

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Israel, Middle East, Obama | , , , , | Leave a comment