1st November 2011 (for immediate use)
Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Leeds PSC) expresses its profound disappointment at the decision of Leeds City Council officers to recommend to Councillors the selection of Veolia as preferred bidder for the city’s incinerator (Residual Waste Project), with the council’s executive board expected to rubber-stamp their selection at a meeting on 2nd November (Ref 1).
Leeds PSC supporters have campaigned throughout 2011 objecting to the inclusion of Veolia as one of the 2 bidders.
By providing services to illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Veolia is considered complicit around the globe in the many and ongoing grave breaches of international and human rights law committed by the state of Israel. Specifically, Veolia is involved in the development of a tramway line in illegally Occupied East Jerusalem, linking illegal settlements in the OPT.
Leeds PSC has communicated several times with the council’s procurement unit, council leaders and member of the executive board notably Counsellor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services with information about Veolia’s complicity in Israel’s violations of international and human rights law.
We believe Leeds City Council and others are bound by the 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice that ‘All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation…’
Leeds City Council appears ignorant of many key facts presented on Veolia’s crimes in the OPT. For example, one of the council’s responses is that Veolia’s subsidiary in Israel is a separate legal entity to Veolia’s UK subsidiary, even though both companies are owned by Veolia Environnment, a French multi-national corporation.
In taking this decision Leeds City Council can stand accused of ignoring its tax payers concerns , based on Palestinian Civil Society’s clear call for people of conscience to act against profiteering complicit companies such as Veolia.
Recent reports show Veolia is in financial crisis and plan to stop operation in 37 countries (ref 5). Boycott & Divestment actions have had a clear effect on Veolia, which has lost several high profile contracts in the UK and it’s chief financial officer has been quoted as admitting its municipal services are suffering a downturn in some countries “in particular with pressure on the downside, namely in the UK where things are rather difficult.” (Ref 6)
The council has also cited fear of potential legal action from Veolia as one of the reason for not excluding it. However awarding the contract to Veolia also risks the city in potential legal action from human rights campaigners. A recent report by Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group, states “Al-Haq has instructed Van den Biesen Boesveld advocates, Amsterdam, to submit a formal objection against the decision of Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen, a Dutch local authority, to award a one billion Euro public transport concession to Hermes, the Dutch subsidiary of French multinational company VeoliaTransdev. The objection is based on Veolia’s involvement in Israel’s violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” (Ref 4)
We thus urge residents of Leeds to write, call, and meet with Leeds City Councillors to insist they follow other UK councils and exclude Veolia from the incinerator contract on the grounds of their clear grave misconduct.
Secretary of Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign (www.leedspsc.org.uk )
E-mail: info (at) leedspsc.org.uk
- Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign is affiliated to the national PSC and aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine by Israel and the struggle of the Palestinian people against the injustice of Israeli apartheid. PSC seek to bring pressure on governments and others to act, to bring about an end to Israel’s violations of international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with volunteering members from communities across the UK. We oppose all racism including anti-semitism and islamophobia. http://www.leedspsc.org.uk/?page_id=317
- The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is a coalition of Palestinian civil society groups. It was formed as the Palestinian reference point in the broad campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which resulted in the July 2005 Palestinian Call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, with the initial endorsement of over 170 Palestinian organizations. http://www.bdsmovement.net/BNC
- The Jerusalem Light Rail tramway that Veolia is involved in building and operating is explicitly designed to cement Israel’s grip on illegal West Bank settlements and tie them more firmly into the state of Israel. Veolia also operates other settlement infrastructure projects: It runs bus services for Israeli settlers on settler-only roads linking the settlements with Israel. These roads have decimated Palestinian towns and villages by stealing their land for construction and cutting them off from each other. Through its subsidiary TMM, Veolia also collects refuse from illegal settlements and buries it at the illegal Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley. For more background: http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/veoliaalstom
4.OPT based Human Rights organisation Al-Haq submitted formal objection to €1bn public contract award to Hermes, linked to Veolia http://www.alhaq.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=473:al-haq-submits-formal-objection-to-1bn-public-contract-to-hermes&catid=72:other-cases
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Haq is an affiliate to Geneva based International Committee of Jurists, the equivalent of Israel’s Btselem*
8.http://www.inminds.com/article.php?id=10479 – Dump Veolia Protest at the Natural History Museum London 23/10
9. http://www.urbanmines.org.uk/?i=3541&s=1111 How decision was reported within the industry