The letter below was handed in to the Veolia Environment Headquarters, in Islington London, on Thursday 3rd December by dozens of PSC members and supporters of Palestinian rights.
The Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers
Veolia Environmental Services UK,
Veolia Transport UK,
Veolia Water UK
3 December 2009
Veolia is aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes. Through its light rail tramway contract, its Israeli-only bus services and its Tovlan landfill site it is supporting Israel”s illegal settlements. The settlements are a violation of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention and a major obstacle to peace. Those that have involved extensive appropriation of Palestinian property are grave breaches of the Convention and therefore war crimes. We call on Veolia to cease its support for Israel”s continuing violation of international law and terminate all its services to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The light rail tramway links west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem, thereby cementing Israel”s hold on occupied east Jerusalem and binding the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel. Whilst the tramway will have a stop in a Palestinian residential area, the spokesman for CityPass, the consortium building the tramway in which Veolia has a stake, explained in April 2009 that its purpose is to serve the needs of the Jewish population. He added that since the Palestinians are served by a network of buses, integration in the light rail would be redundant. Yet Veolia has promised to reconsider its involvement if application of a non-discriminatory policy proves to be impossible.
This promise also rings hollow in light of its “Apartheid” Israeli-only bus services. Veolia Transport runs Connex bus services 109 and 110 linking illegal settlements with west Jerusalem and Israel. Like the tramway, these services consolidate the land grab that the settlements embody. But Palestinians are forbidden to use them, a flagrant example of discriminatory policy. By its own criteria Veolia should have no part in these services.
Veolia gives further support to Israel”s illegal settlements through its operation of the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley. Tovlan takes refuse from a number of settlements in the Jordan Valley. It also serves the Palestinian town of Nablus, but Nablus”s use of the site is severely restricted by Israeli checkpoints and the high fees charged.
Veolia”s complicity in Israel”s violation of international human rights law is also a clear breach of its responsibilities under the UN Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Veolia”s reputation is suffering. It has already lost major contracts in UK, Sweden, France and Australia after public condemnation of its involvement in the Jerusalem tramway.
We call upon the Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of Veolia”s subsidiaries in UK – Veolia Environmental Services, Veolia Transport and Veolia Water – to repudiate Veolia”s support for Israel”s violation of international law and to demand that Veolia Environnement, the Paris based parent company, terminate all activities of its subsidiaries that support Israel”s occupation and illegal settlements.
Until these activities cease we call upon all local and other public authorities in Britain to exclude Veolia”s UK subsidiaries forthwith from all future public contracts on grounds of grave misconduct, as the Public Contract Regulations 2006 allow, namely aiding and abetting war crimes.
Betty Hunter, General Secretary Palestine Solidarity Campaign
John Austin MP
Andy de la Tour
Clare Short MP
Miriam Margolyes O.B.E.
Prof Karma Nabulsi
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Canon Garth Hewitt