Thames cable car line
Photo: EPA

UAE tries to exclude Israel from London cable car pact

Sponsorship deal between UAE airline, Transport for London forbids any future business dealings with Jewish state; mayor orders Tfl to remove clause

The Thames cable car line, which runs between London's Greenwich neighborhood and the Excel Center, has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city since it opened in June 2012 ahead of the Olympics. Now it has also become a symbol of hatred toward Israel.


The Emirates Air Line, also known as the Thames cable car, is considered a success partly because Emirates airlines provided $54.4 million of the project's more than $95 million construction and development costs. In exchange for the funding Emirates airlines, the United Arab Emirate's national airline, was named the sponsor of the cable car line.


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But London’s main transportation agency has come under fire for the 10-year partnership deal with Emirates airlines because it excludes Israel from future business dealings.


The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that according to the 2011 contract, which was revealed by the online watchdog group MayorWatch through a Freedom of Information request, Transport for London agreed to abide by the UAE's foreign policy in the deal.


Under the terms of the contract, Transport for London will default on the agreement if it sells the cable car to a "conflicting person," defined as any competitor or "any person who is a national of, or who is registered, incorporated, established or whose principal place of business is in a country with which the UAE does not at the date of this Contract or at any relevant point during the Term maintain diplomatic relations."


Israel is the only country that falls into that category.


Transport for London would not be allowed to finance the project through Israel-based or Israeli-owned banks, nor would Israel be able to buy the cable cars from Transport for London.


Another clause in the contract forbids London Mayor Boris Johnson from criticizing the UAE. Johnson claimed he was not aware of these clauses, and following his intervention this week Emirates agreed to remove them and "re-work the wording," his spokesman said.


Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney, who earlier in the week slammed the deal, welcomed the news, saying, "I would personally like to thank Sir Peter Hendy from TfL for urgently resolving this matter with Emirates Airlines. We must remain vigilant against any back-door attempts to boycott Israel in the UK."


Amir Ofek, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in London, said he was certain the "relevant British authorities will know how to handle the matter."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.18.13, 09:24
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