Veolia’s illegal activities
What exactly are Veolia’s illegal activities in the occupied Palestinian territories?
1. Jerusalem Light Rail *
The new trams operated by Veolia
In 2003, the City Pass Consortium with Veolia, a partner, 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 theWest 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 .
In April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared the tramway and its operations to be illegal (A/HRC/RES/13/7 of 14 April 2010). The resolution was passed 44 to 1, with Ireland and all the EU members of the Council voting in favour. The operation of the tramway is precisely what Veolia has a contract to do.
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. By linking Israel’s illegal settlements, the project plays key role in sustaining the illegal settlements and ensuring they became a permanent fixture upon Palestinian land.
Veolia holds a thirty-year contract for the operation of its first line which commenced service in August 2011.
Tramway route in blue
Separation wall in red
1949 Armistice line (“green line”) in green
Israeli illegal settlements in purple
* Jerusalem Light Rail Project, Israel
# Consolidation of Jerusalem annexation continues with the Light Rail
Report, Al-Haq, 2 July 2007
2. Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley*
Close to the town of Jericho, in the illegally occupied Jordan valley, North of the Yafit settlement, next to Tirza Reservoir, the Samaria Towns Environmental Association manage the Tovlan waste-disposal site*.TMM Integrated Recycling Services, a subsidiary of Veolia, operate the 33-hectare landfill site and pay royalties to the Jordan Valley Regional Council.
Alongside it is a fertilizer-manufacturing operation that uses the waste from the Tovlan site*.
The Tovlan site has been operated since the 1990s as a private business, without a plan approved by the regional council, and without infrastructure to prevent ground pollution and emission of greenhouse gases, or a plan to rehabilitate it. In 2004, the Towns Association upgraded and enlarged the facility to give it a “national dimension,” with a capacity of a thousand tons of refuse a day*.
Tovlan landfill was established in 1999 on land ethnically cleansed of Palestinians in 1967. The site is managed by the Israeli settlement regional council of Biqat Hayarden, which covers 21 illegal settlements, and the land is leased from the occupier: Israeli’s civil administration.#
Currently, the site is used only by Israeli settlements. In addition to settlements in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Seaarea, large settlements such as Ari’el and the Barkan industrial area also use the site+.
According to The BIG Campaign over 200,000 tonnes of the waste from Israel alone is dumped per annum at the plant along with the waste from the illegal settlements in the Jordan Valley^.
Some hazardous waste appears to arrive from hospitals inside Israel and is incinerated. The facility also has a settlement sewage water plant and is able to generate electricity using the methane gas extracted from it. The energy generated is exclusively used by the nearby settlements whilst the nearby impoverished Palestinian village of Abu Ajajis made virtually uninhabitable by the noxious smells and fly infestation in particular during the summer months.
Despite the ONYX (Veolia subsidiary) sign on the gate Veolia have recently claimed that their site was no longer operating. However Corporate Watch have confirmed that this is not the case as Veolia’s waste truck flow in and out of the site. Much of this waste comes from Israeli towns such as Afula, Petach Tikva and Bequat.
Veolia says that it is selling Tovlan to a local buyer and may already have done so, but far from ending Veolia’s complicity, the deal will compound it for the intended sale is to Massu’a, the nearby illegal Israeli settlement. Moreover Veolia will continue its involvement by providing the settlement with advice concerning Tovlan.
Time to Dump Veolia!
*Dispossession and Exploitation.Israel’s Policy in the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea. Report by the Israeli Human Rights group B’tselem. May 2011
+ minutes of the meeting of 4 January 2005 of the subcommittee of the Knesset’s Interior and Environmental Protection Committee on the matter of refuse dumps. See “Tovlan Waste Landfill Site,” on the website of the Municipal Environmental Associations of Samaria, http://www.enviosh.org.il/shomron.php?id=6 [Hebrew].
#‘Veolia’s dirty business: The Tovlan landfill’ a Corporate Watch report http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3514
3 . Bus services to the illegal settlements
A Veolia-run bus operates in the occupied West Bank. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills
Veolia Transportation Israel currently operate 7 bus services that run through Palestinian land according to ‘Who Profits’. ( see ‘Veolia treats wastewater from Modi’in Illit settlement’ in our Press archive section).
Initially Veolia’s subsidary Connex operated regular bus services 109 and 110 linking Israeli settlements in the West Bank. These include Giv’at Ze’ev, Har Shmuel and Mevo Horonalong along road 443, which is an apartheid road. Access to the majority of route 443 has been effectively out of bounds to Palestinians since the second Intifada.
Har Shmuel settlement is closer to West Jeruusalem on road 446 that joins 443 near Giv’at Ze’ev. Road 446 between these two stops, about 5 kms, is the only part of the route on which West Bank Palestinians might be able to travel. More likely even this stretch is no go for them.
Veolia claims that Palestinians from nearby villages can use the two stops outside Giv’at Ze’ev and Har Shmuel however this unlikely to be the case as Palestinians are not allowed go West from Giv’at Ze’ve as they would end up in Israel or a settlement. Nor can they travel southeast from Har Shmuel as they will end up in West Jerusalem.
The Israeli human rights organization B’tselem notes the following about Road 443
[T]he army continues to improperly discriminate against Palestinians, whose use of the road is greatly limited, while Israelis are permitted to travel along it freely*
In addition Veolia operates two other bus services to settlements in the West Bank. Bus service 7 runs from Modi’in to the settlements of Hashmonaim and Kfar Ha’oranim. Veolia also operates bus 19 which runs between Modi’in and the settlement of Mevo Horon.
The settlements Hashmonaim, Kfar Ha’oranim and Mevo Horon are situated in seam zones, areas which are sealed off from the occupied West Bank by the wall. Hashmonaim and Kfar Ha’oranim are built on the Palestinian lands of Bil’in and Ni’lin.
Recent research by Who Profits has revealed that Veolia also operates 3 bus lines between Bnei-Brak and Jerusalem that cut through the oPt with stops that serve illegal settlers. In November 2011 they wona contract to operate bus services for the ultra orthodox Haredim community. Bus lines: 422, 425 and 427. ( see ‘Veolia treats wastewater from Modi’in Illit settlement’ in our Press archive section)
It is forbidden for Palestinians from the West Bank to enter the seam zones and therefore impossible to make use of the bus services that run in this area. Veolia’s bus services 7 and 19, just like bus lines 109 and 110, serve only the Jewish settlements.
It is clear that these are apartheid Israeli only bus services – they serve the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely intoIsrael.
Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. By operating four bus services to Israeli settlements, Veolia is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
4. Waste water treatment
Veolia Environnement are digging deeper into the occupiedWest Bankby expanding their range of services to the illegal settlements.
Adri Nieuwof, writing in the Electronic Intifada in February 2012, notes that Who Profits? – a research project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace – uncovered evidence of Veolia’s involvement in “new” Israeli occupation projects. This information came by researching the company’s website, official Israeli websites and financial reports.
Veolia Water Israel operates the Ayalon Sewage Treatment Plant which provides wastewater treatment to several communities, including the illegal Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit.
The illegal Modi’in Illit settlement is situated betweenJerusalemand Tel Aviv, in the occupiedWest Bank.
Veolia WaterIsraelis a full subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, according to Who Profits?
Read more: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/veolia-treats-wastewater-modiin-illit-settlement