Stop Veolia (Connex) illegal support for the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

I copy a letter below about the transport company Veolia and its activities in support of illegalities in the state of Israel with regard to
Palestinian people. Boycotts and international opprobrium are the most effect way to achieve change in Israel. South Africa is a precedent.

Israel is a rogue state which flouts international law with impunity. The perpetrators of the mayhem caused by their attack on Gaza last year should find their way into the International Courts at the Hague but this is very unlikely. the passports affair in the Hamas murder in Dubai is just another incident.

LETTER

Dear Dr. Tormey,

I am writing to request that you support the motion at Dublin City Council on March 1st calling on the City Manager not to sign any new or renew any existing contracts with Veolia as it would be in contravention of the wishes of this Council. Galway City Council and Sligo County Councils supported similar motions in April and February respectively last year.

Veolia are a multinational French company operating in the fields of water, waste management, energy and transport services. They provide all of these  services in Ireland at present. However its operations in Israel/occupied
Palestine are under intense public scrutiny as they infringe the human rights of the Palestinian people and are in violation of international law. As a result Veolia have come under increasing international pressure from
civil society across the globe to withdraw from its illegal operations in Israel.

It is imperative that Dublin City Council take a stand, as their colleagues  in Sligo and Galway have, and demand that the City Manager does not enter into any further contracts with Veolia.

I have set out below a list of Veolia’s illegal activities, the reason why they are illegal and a summary of contracts which Veolia have lost due to their illegal activities in occupied Palestine.

Please support this motion and support the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Yours sincerely,

John Dorman (Divestment Officer) Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Call on CRH plc to divest from Israel

http://www.ipsc.ie/crhdivest/index.html

www.ipsc.ie email john@dorman.ie

Veolia’s illegal operations in occupied Palestine

Jerusalem Light rail

In 2003, Veolia won a $500 million contract to build and maintain a light railway that will run across the city of Jerusalem, including occupied East Jerusalem and the illegal settlement in the West Bank. The light railway project violates international law, not only because it is built on occupied Palestinian land, but also because it is an extension of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and the Apartheid Wall. Through its subsidiary Connex, in Israel, it is one of the companies in the CityPass consortium, contracted to operate the light rail project in Jerusalem. The project plays a key role in sustaining the illegal settlements and ensuring they became a permanent fixture upon Palestinian land, while at the same time maintaining a system of Apartheid that isolates Palestinians and limits their mobility.

Tovlan Landfill in occupied West bank

Through its subsidiary Veolia Environmental Services, it also owns and operates the Tovlan Landfill in the occupied Jordan Valley, using captured Palestinian land and resources for the needs of the illegal Israeli settlements.

Bus services to the illegal settlements

Veolia’s subsidiary, Connex, also operates regular bus services to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including Beit Horon and Givat Ze’ev along road 443, which is an apartheid road. Palestinians are not allowed to travel on these buses or on these roads in their own occupied country.

Why are Veolia’s operations illegal under international humanitarian law, human rights law and UN Norms?

The Irish Government and the United Nations do not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law and numerous UN resolutions.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights

Due to the proximity of Veolia’s operation in occupied Palestine they are clearly in breach of several articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ongoing occupation of Palestine is in contrary to Articles 2, 3 which states that everyone is entitled to the right to life, liberty and security of person and that no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, juridical or international status of the country to which a person belongs. Article 17 confirms the right to own property and it cannot be arbitrarily deprived of their property. Article 13 confirms the right of freedom of movement within their country, the right to leave and the right to return. Article 25 confirms the right to enjoy a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and family.

The Fourth Geneva Convention

The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which provides that the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies as well as Article 53, which forbids destruction of property. Articles 146, 147 refer to ‘Grave breaches’ of the Convention amounting to war crimes as they involve appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity.

These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s participation in the construction and future of the tramway serving the settlements. In addition the tramway will discriminate against Palestinians as they will not be allowed to travel on it. This discrimination is no different to the apartheid South African ‘whites only’ system of discrimination.

International Court of Justice

The ICJ ruled in 2004 that the apartheid wall was illegal as they considered it to be an attempt by Israel to annexe Palestinian territory
contrary to International Law and that it interfered with the right of Palestinians to self determination system. The ruling is quite clear that all states are obliged to ensure compliance by Israel of UN Charters and  International Law. Veolia, too, are obliged to abide by these laws and charters and should not be to rendering aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by the wall nor should it be profiting from the ongoing human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000)

Veolia are in contravention of these guidelines which state that enterprises should “Respect the human rights of those affected by their
activities consistent with the host government’s international obligations and commitments”. Palestinians land is being illegally taken, homes demolished, farmland confiscated and olive groves destroyed to build the tramway.

The UN Global Compact (2000)

The United Nations Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The origin of Principles One and Two of the UN Global Compact is in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The aim of this Declaration was to set basic minimum international standards for the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual. The fundamental nature of these provisions means that they are now widely regarded as forming a foundation of international law.

Veolia is a member of The UN Global Compact which states that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses. However it activities in occupied Palestine clearly in breach these fundamental principles.

Veolias lost contracts and legal actions

June 2009: Reports indicate that due to international pressure Veolia is withdrawing from the light rail project however this has not been
confirmed. Alstom remains involved in the project.

June 2009: The city of Melbourne, Australia stripped Connex of their contract to run Melbourne’s trams and Hong Kong’s MTR.

June 2009: The city of Tehran announces that Veolia will be excluded from bidding for key contracts in the city’s transportation services.

April 2009: Galway City Council voted not to renew or enter into any new contract’s with Veolia as a result of the operations in occupied Palestine.

April 2009: A French Court agreed to hear the case that launched against Veolia and Alstom by Association France-Palestine Solidarité and the PLO in 2007. This case could set precedence for taking legal actions against corporations in their home countries for international law violations they commit in Palestine.

April 2009: Veolia loses a contact worth 750 million Euros in Bordeaux, France.

March 2009: The Swedish National Pension fund divested from Alstom as the reported human rights abuses regarding the company’s participation in a railway project in Jerusalem made it not suitable for pension funds investments.

February 2009: Sligo County Council, passed a motion not to renew any further contracts with Veolia as a result of the operations in occupied Palestine.

January 2009: Veolia loses 4.5 billion dollar contract to run the subway in Stockholm, Sweden.

November 2006:ASN, a Dutch bank, breaks off financial relations with Veolia “Due to the direct nature of Veolia’s involvement, we are of the opinion that Veolia’s activities in Jerusalem are in conflict with UN Resolutions. Therefore, on this current information Veolia will be removed from our investment universe.”

August 2006: Irish Trade Union forces Veolia to cancel plans to train Israeli drivers and engineers in Ireland. They were to be trained on the Dublin Luas, that is nearly identical to the one being constructed in Jerusalem.