Thursday, September 17, 2009

Veolia still intertwined with Israel's occupation

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 16 September 2009

"After years of campaigning by Palestine solidarity activists to end the French transportation giant Veolia's complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, it was reported in early June that the company planned to end its involvement in an Israeli light rail project being built on occupied Palestinian land. The light rail will connect Jerusalem with several illegal West Bank settlements; Israeli settlements and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

Veolia steadfastly refuses to provide information on the company's intention to pull out of the 30-year contract to operate the train and to sell its five percent stake in the City Pass Consortium......

Contrary to Veolia's reported intention to abandon the light rail project, the company seems to be conducting business as usual with Israel. Veolia justified its work on the light rail project at length at the seventh Global Compact Annual Local Networks Forum held from 8-11 June 2009........

In spite of Veolia's intransigence, the company is no doubt concerned by the recent actions of the Norwegian government. Last week Norway's Government Global Pension Fund announced its divestment from the Israeli firm Elbit Systems, because the firm provides surveillance equipment for the wall in the occupied West Bank. Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said, "We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law."......."

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