Feeling the Cost of Supporting the Israeli Occupation
The State of Israel is not the only party losing the battle for legitimacy through the occupation of Palestinian land. Companies and entities that collaborate with Israel`s violations also are facing the effects of prohibitions and sanctions promised in international law. Corporations are beginning to feel the consequences of their collaboration—in their pocket.
Despite the denunciation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against the Israeli occupationand the ten-year-old International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion (2004) on the illegality of cooperation with the regime associated with Israeli wall and settler colonies, the continuance of French utility company Veolia for its trades in infrastructure projects for Israel; most recently lost a contract worth $4.26 billion in the United States as a result of the campaign denouncing the company’s contribution to the infrastructure of the illegal settlements illegal Israeli in the West Bank.
The French company has been one of three companies forming the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR). With a 60%share in the MBCR, Veolia had been in charge of operating and maintaining the trains since 2003.On 8 January, Veolia lost the contract to the MBCR’s sole competitor, Keolis America, by a vote of the joint Board for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The local BDS Movement had opposed Veolia’s bid for a new contract to run the Massachusetts commuter rail because of its violation of Palestinian rights and international law through its support for Israel’s colonization of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
However, Veolia’s supporting role in the Israeli occupation has grown through building transport services between the colonies, recycling waste and converting occupied Palestinian lands into garbage dumps.
In July 2013, the company converted 60 dunams of the most fertile agricultural land between the villages of Fasayil and Jiftlik near the colony of “Yafit”into a garbage tip, dumping solid and hazardous waste from Israeli colonies in the Jordan Valley and inside the Green Line into this landfill.
At the same time, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem is planning the confiscation of a large land area up to 534 dunamsvital in the villages of Issawiyaand `Anata, in order to convert them into a landfill for solid waste with a capacity of 5 to 8 million cubic meters of waste over 20 years. This will affect the lives of 32,000 Palestinians living in villages, ravaging their living environment and cutting off from the rest of the West Bank.
In addition to the occupation authorities put restrictions unfair on the movement of the movement of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley , and prevent them from construction and exploitation of pastures , the occupation facilitated the looting of agricultural land and the destruction of the environment in the West , companies Israeli waste , because they are not subject to the laws and conditions on the mechanism of dealing with waste and ways to transfer and treatment to reduce the impact on the environment as it is within the state of occupation .
Work is not confined only to Veolia transporting solid waste only, but also it plans to extract natural gas from the waste to run transportation lines Tiberias (Galilee) and the West Bank colony of Modi`in.
The Housing and Land Rights Network - Habitat International Coalition monitors the activity of Veolia in the occupied Palestinian territoryamong five regional cases within the Maastricht Principles on the Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011). As France is state within whose jurisdiction Veolia is headquartered, France is ultimately responsible for the serious damage resulting from the activities of this French company violating the Palestinian right to self-determination. Further, by permitting a French company to strengthen and consolidate the occupation through illegal colonization of Palestinian land, France is committing a violation by omission of peremptory norms of general international law.
Veolia may have lost one extremely lucrative contract in Massachusetts, but it is still a formidable competitor for global privatization and utility contracting. Thus, it remains a target for future BDS activity and legal challenges in Palestine and abroad.
Click here for more information on the conversion of Palestinian land into waste-disposal sites.
For more details about the transformation of the Palestinian territories to the garbage dump see:
Abu Dis: From Land Expropriation to Landfill, Israel`s wastes Disposal Site beyond the Green Line: The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) and The Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA), December 2010.