Derailing Veolia and Alstom

With thanks to Angus Geddes and Ruth Tenne. See also Derailing Veolia in the UK.

veolia_tramrouteIf you live in the UK, check the rubbish skips used by your place of worship and local shops and businesses: if they are using Veolia Environmental Services, Onyx or Cleanaway get them to switch to another contractor. All these indicate Veolia, the multinational company aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes. For contracts with local councils, where Veolia has a contract expiring within the next two or three years we can be sure that Veolia will bid for the replacement contract, so these are the key councils to challenge to exclude Veolia.

So how is Veolia involved in apartheid Israel? A large French multinational employing 320,000 people, Veolia is helping build and operate a tramway linking illegal Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel. Not only do the settlements contravene article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, but in most cases their establishment involved war crimes too. The tramway tightens Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, ties the settlements more firmly into Israel and undermines chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people. So don’t let your local authority give Veolia Environmental Services contracts for waste management or Veolia Transport contracts for bus services. Ask local businesses using Veolia to switch to another rubbish collector.

The Derail Veolia campaign is gathering momentum, internationally and in UK. In February 2009 Veolia lost a 3.5 billion Euro contract to run the Stockholm metro. In June, in Australia, Veolia failed to renew their contract for Melbourne’s train system. Here in UK more than a dozen local authorities are being challenged to exclude Veolia. Under the Public Contract Regulations 2006 a company can be excluded from a contract on the grounds of grave misconduct. What could be graver than aiding and abetting war crimes? After a campaign by West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Veolia failed to get on Sandwell Borough Council’s short list for a rubbish collection contract. Stockholm, Melbourne and Sandwell say their decisions were purely commercial. Campaigners do not believe this. Veolia, we think, are getting the message.

Veolia’s support for settlements does not stop there. Through its subsidiary TMM it owns and operates the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley. Tovlan takes refuse from illegal settlements, and from Israel too, as well as from Palestinian towns such as Nablus.

There are press reports that Veolia is buckling under the pressure and wants to get out of the Jerusalem project. The company won’t comment (June 2009). But it must give up more than the tramway. Veolia also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel. These are services 109 and 110, operated by its local company Connex. The 110 bus serves Ramot Alon, Giv’at Ze’ev and Beit Horon illegal settlements, linking them to west Jerusalem at one end of the route and Israel (in the direction of Tel Aviv) at the other end. Service 109 links illegal settlement Mevo Horon with west Jerusalem, calling at Modiin Illit and Giv’at Ze’ev settlements too. Both use road 443, on which Palestinians are forbidden to travel. So both are Apartheid, Israeli only bus services.

Alstom has a 20% stake in the CityPass Consortium building the tramway, RWE npower has contracts with Alstom to build two electric power stations in UK. Pressure needs to be put on RWE npower to exclude Alstom from any further contracts.

An excellent resource for more on this campaign is at  http://www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?page=veolia.

Tramway map Alstom

Tramway route in blue
Separation wall in red
1949 Armistice line (“green line”) in green
Israeli illegal settlements in purple

Jacky Rowland has this Al Jazeera feature from late last year:

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