Date filed
6 January 2020
Countries of harm
Current status


In December 2019 and January 2020, Comité de la Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe (The Committee of Solidarity for the Arab Cause) filed two specific instances against Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and Israeli company Shapir Engineering and Industry to the Spanish and Israeli NCPs, respectively. The complaints concern activities of the companies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory related to construction and infrastructure management of tramway lines that enter into the occupied Palestinian territory. According to the complaints, the companies allegedly formed a consortium, TransJerusalem J-Net Ltd., that won a contract to extend and manage an existing light rail tram line (red line) and build another tram line (green line) from Jerusalem to illegal settlements in the West Bank.

According to the complaints, the work would involve extension of 27 kilometers of railroad, provision of 114 new trams and refurbishment of 48 existing trams, provision of traffic signals, power, and communication systems to support the tram lines, as well as maintenance of the tram lines during a 15-25 year period.

The complainants allege that the companies breached several chapters of the OECD Guidelines in accepting and beginning the work, including in particular by failing to engage in adequate stakeholder consultation via a complete and effective due diligence process (Chapter II), failing to disclose fully the nature of the work and its foreseeable impacts on occupied peoples (Chapter III), and failing to respect the human rights of impacted rightsholders (Chapter IV, with particular focus on guidance in Commentary 40 urging companies to respect the standards of international humanitarian law during situations of armed conflict). According to the complainants, the complaint is based on the fact that the Occupied Territory cannot be colonised as the Israeli authorities claim. They argue that the route of the tram lines, established by the occupation authorities, facilitates colonisation, the establishment of colonies (after expropriation and expulsion of the original inhabitants) and facilitates the transfer of the population of the occupying power to the occupied territory, all of which is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and rejected by the UN Security Council Resolutions.

The complainants are seeking mediation and a rigorous examination of the facts by the Israeli and Spanish NCPs to encourage the companies to cease participation in the project and report their withdrawal to Palestinian authorities.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


More than a year after submission of the specific instance, the complainants raised with all NCPs their concern that neither the Israeli nor Spanish NCP had yet issued an initial assessment regarding the complaints. Such a delay represents a breach of the Guidelines’ expectation that NCPs complete the initial assessment phase of complaints within a three month period.

On 8 December 2021, the Israeli NCP rejected the complaint on several grounds, including that the complainants did not actually allege breaches of the Guidelines but instead focused on Israeli state policy and that the complaint did not establish a link between the company’s planned activities and the alleged harmful consequences.

The complainants point out that the NCP did not enter into a detailed discussion of the chapters allegedly infringed and did not mention the affected Palestinian indigenous population or their representatives in its decision.

The complainants feel that the Israeli NCP made several errors in its decision. In its initial assessment, the Israeli NCP required an overly high standard of proof and rigorously analysed the link between the company’s activities and alleged risks. The NCP misread the complainant’s allegations, making selective readings of OECD Watch’s prior substantiated submission on the subject. At the same time, the NCP did not properly evaluate the company’s leverage in connection with its assessment of its link to the impacts. Moreover, the Israeli NCP did not properly interpret the Guidelines calling for companies to meet the higher of two standards: national law and international standards. The complainants feel that the NCP shirked its commitment to provide for the expropriated and expelled indigenous Palestinian population before and in new infrastructure. In the complainant’s opinion, colonisation (evidenced by expansion of settlements and infrastructure) is incompatible with OECD standards and this case calls into question Israel’s membership in the OECD.

More details

Company in violation
Other companies involved
Affected people
Other NCP's where the complaint was filed
Date rejected / concluded
1 April 2021

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