The Veolia parent company is Veolia Environnement, a French multinational. Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium, contracted to build a light rail tramway system linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements such as Pisgat Ze'ev, French Hill, Neve Ya'akov and Gilo in occupied east Jerusalem. Once built, the rail system will help to cement Israel's hold on occupied east Jerusalem and tie the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel. And not only the settlements in east Jerusalem: the project states that the “Ammunition Hill” station of the network will operate as the feeder station for settler traffic from Ma’aleh Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and from Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley.
The complete system is due for completion in 2020, with Veolia responsible for the operation. The first line will open in 2010. With its involvement in this project, the company is directly implicated in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and is playing a key role in Israel's attempt to make its annexation of the Palestinian territory of east Jerusalem irreversible. As a willing agent of these policies, Veolia is undermining any chance of a just peace for the Palestinian people.
Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. Numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall have confirmed this. The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which provides that:: “...The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53, which forbids destruction of property. These violations in some cases in east Jerusalem amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention, (see Articles 146 and 147), as they involve appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity. These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s participation in the construction and future operation of the tramway serving the settlements.
In November 2006, ASN, a Dutch bank, broke off financial relations with Veolia on account of the light rail contract. Veolia also runs Luas, Dublin's light rail system, but has been forced by Trade Union pressure in Ireland to cancel a proposed deal to train drivers and engineers for the Jerusalem light rail. In 2007 AFPS, a French NGO, and the PLO, started court cases in France against Veolia Transport and Alstom, another CityPass partner, to get their contract for the tramway invalidated on the grounds that its aim breached the French Civil Code as being in contradiction with public order and good morals (see http://electronicintafada.net/v2/article9104.shtml).
Meanwhile, Veolia Environmental Services runs waste collection and recycling for several local authorities in the UK and so provides a local target for appropriate action. It is clear from the parent company’s annual reports and website that the company is one coherent whole and so the misconduct of one division is the misconduct of Veolia as a whole and all divisions and subsidiaries are implicated. Veolia Water and Veolia Transport are also UK subsidiaries.
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