Israel plans to demolish solar panels in village near Hebron

The Israeli occupation authorities have issued notice of their intention to demolish a renewable energy project which generates electricity and represents the only source of lighting for the houses in a Palestinian village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. The people of Al-Mnazel received the demolition notice advising of Israel’s plans to destroy the solar panels which provide them with electricity. The project was established a couple of years ago with funds from the Spanish government.

The coordinator of the People’s Committees in the district, Rateb Al-Jabour, told the media that the project provides more than 40 Palestinian families with electricity. He warned that the project’s destruction by the Israeli “Civil Administration”, “will take the village back to the stone age”.

Mr. Al-Jabour added that the Israeli occupation authorities have also given Khalil Al-Nwaja’, who lives in Al-Mnazel, notice that his home will be demolished. The tents and caravans, claim the Israelis, do not have a licence.

(www.uruknet.info / 03.02.2012)

News from Syria 03.02.2012

AJA is airing pictures of dead bodies in AlKhaldieh #Homs. The eye witness is crying on AJA “we are humans..we are humans”

Holy shit. There was a massive explosion from this live stream of Homs

@DamascusTweets: TO EVERYONE IN #HOMS, GO DOWN TO LOWER LEVELS WHERE YOU LIVE! IMMEDIATLY! #SYRIA

138 dead in Homs according to Al-Arabiya. This is a full scale massacre

We call on @AmbassadorRice to witness reenactment of Hama Massacre. 1 a.m. in #Syria & Assad began. 100+ killed already. #Syria #HomsAttack

Sorry Al-Arabiya, but grow some balls and show these pictures. The world needs to see what is going on

Very fierce clashes are taking place now in Bab Sbaa. So many dead in Homs

@WhiteHouse: A massacre is being committed in #Syria SOS. #SyriaBleeds #AssadWillHang

Assad forces heading to Zabadani. Rastan, Khaldiya, Qusoor and Baba Amr in Homs are being attacked on the same time. Wounded being arrested

#Syria Forget about dead people here in #Homs city tonight, there are +150 INJURIES IN NEED OF URGENT MEDICAL HELP WE CAN’T RESCUE THEM

Alarabiya – 100 dead and 500 injured in the Khaldiya massacre

#KHALIDIYAH #BABAMR #RASTAN #ZABADANI ARE ALL BEING SHELLED. OVER 100 DEAD. IT’S THE #HAMA MASSACRE ALL OVER AGAIN. #Syria #HomsAttack

A massacre in #Homs, Al-Khalidiya neighborhood. 50 martyrs and over 400 wounded. #Syria

Very graphic injuries in Khaldiyah – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8g4eEakQE many, many dead

Activist Abu Ja’ffar is collecting the names of the martyrs in Homs. Children among the dead

#Syria :10s of injuries are now at hospitals WE DO NEED HELP WE NEED MEDICAL HELP TO RESCUE THEM” a doctor here in #Homs city just told me

Activists in #Syria: Please block port number1433 The so-called #Syria n Electronic Army is using the port to access MS-SQL vulenerabilities

Martyrs and wounded in Khaldiyah

Fucking hell. A sniper on the roof of the national hospital in Khaldiya is shooting at ambulances aiding the wounded

Veolia, a large French multinational

Veolia, a large French multinational, is helping to build and operate a tramway linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel. Not only do the settlements contravene article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention forbidding an occupier transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies, but in most cases the establishment of the Israeli settlements involved war crimes too. The tramway tightens Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, ties the settlements more firmly into Israel and undermines chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people.

In the occupied Jordan Valley Veolia has been supporting illegal settlements by taking their refuse at its Tovlan landfill site. Veolia has now compounded its offence by actually selling Tovlan to an illegal settlement, whilst maintaining an advisory role.

Veolia also operates bus services connecting illegal Israeli settlements to Israel. Palestinians were, until recently, forbidden from using the apartheid roads on which the buses travel and Palestinian use of these services is still severely restricted.

Veolia must be made to halt these activities which enable Israel to maintain and tighten its grip on the occupation. Until then, we encourage a boycott of Veolia – a firm complicit in the ongoing occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Scroll down for a full guide to the issues and how you can support the campaign.

Ask your local council to exclude Veolia from public contracts. By law a company can be excluded from contracts on grounds of grave misconduct. What could be graver than aiding and abetting war crimes? See here for a sample letter.

Ask local businesses and places of worship using Veolia to switch to another rubbish collector. Veolia Environmental Services, Onyx or Cleanaway skips are all Veolia.

Protest to the Natural History Museum and the BBC at their choice of Veolia as sponsor of Wildlife Photographer of the Year

 

Veolia postcardVeolia postcard

 

 

Veolia petitionVeolia petition

 

Why boycott Veolia

Contents:

–  Veolia’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements.

–  Veolia is one commercial entity.

–  The “Derail Veolia” (or “Dump Veolia”) campaign.

–  Important campaign successes.

–  Useful References.

–  Annex: Suggested text of a letter asking a public authority to exclude Veolia from a public contract.

–  Map of the Jerusalem tramway first line.

 

Veolia’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements

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 linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem .  Once built, the rail system will 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 “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 line is due to open in 2011, with Veolia responsible for the operation.  With its involvement in this project, the company is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of the Palestinian territory of east Jerusalem irreversible.  Further, as a willing agent of these policies, Veolia is undermining the chances 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: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53 forbidding destruction of property.  In some cases in East Jerusalem these violations amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention (see Articles 146 and 147), as they involve extensive appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity.  These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s part in the construction and future operation of the tramway serving the settlements.   The tramway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territories contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3, also part of international law.

Veolia’s is recruiting operators for the tramway through an advertisement requiring Hebrew to mother tongue standard, no mention of Arabic, a clear indication that the tramway is expected to be used primarily by Jewish Israelis, not Palestinians.  Full army or civic service is also required, i.e. no Palestinians.

In April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared the tramway and its operation to be illegal (A/HRC/RES/13/7 of 14 April 2010).  The resolution was passed 44 to 1, with the UK, France 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.

Thus, through its involvement in the building and future operation of this tramway linking Israel’s illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, Veolia is facilitating Israel’s ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is complicit in its perpetuation of those breaches.  In other words, Veolia is involved in aiding and abetting on-going war crimes.  It is also facilitating, exacerbating, aiding and abetting Israel’s breach of the Hague Regulations.

Veolia also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel.  These are services 109 and 110, operated by its local company Connex.  These services link the settlements of Mevo Horon, Giv’at Ze’ev and Har Shmuel to Israel.  Until recently part of the route was an Apartheid road on which Palestinians from the West Bank were forbidden to travel, even though it passes through the West Bank.  In June 2010 the ban was partially lifted to comply with an Israeli court order, but at most West Bank Palestinians can still only use the Veolia buses between two stops about 5kms apart, and quite possibly not at all.

In March 2011 the Veolia Transport Division of Veolia Environnement merged with Transdev to form Veolia Transdev.  The merged company is 50% owned by Veolia Environnement, with the Chairman/CEO of Veolia Environnement also the Chairman of Veolia Transdev.  Veolia Environnement therefore still bears very substantial responsibility for and retains effective control of Veolia Transdev’s wholly owned subsidiary Veolia Transport Israel.

Veolia Transport Israel is trying to sell its 5% stake in the CityPass Consortium and its 80% stake in the tramway operating company to the Israeli company Egged.  But part of the deal is for Veolia Transport Israel to provide Egged with technical assistance in running the tramway for 5 years, so Veolia will still be involved in and profit from the tramway operation.  Veolia says that it is selling its stakes to take advantage of a good offer rather than trying to distance itself from services to settlements.

Veolia’s support for settlements does not stop there.  Through its subsidiary TMM, Veolia Transport Israel has been operating the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley for many years.  During this time Tovlan has been supporting Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank by taking their refuse.  There has also been a report of Tovlan receiving refuse from Israel itself, the occupier dumping its rubbish on the occupied.  Veolia says that it is selling Tovlan to a local buyer and may have already 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.  Veolia’s involvement with Tovlan is not affected by the Veolia Transport/Transdev merger, for the subsidiary concerned is part of Veolia Environnement’s Environmental Services Division.

Veolia’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements breaches its obligations with respect to codes of conduct and conventions such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000) and the UN Global Compact (2000).  The latter’s first two principles state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.  Yet by supporting Israel’s illegal settlements Veolia flagrantly violates both of these provisions.

Veolia is one commercial entity

It is entirely evident that Veolia treats itself as a single entity and profits and prospers as such.  This is also clear in the company’s own marketing and public corporate structure where it treats itself as a coherent whole.  As this is the case, the conduct of one division or subsidiary is the conduct of Veolia as a whole.  In short, if one subsidiary of Veolia is involved in activities of grave misconduct and profits from such conduct, then the parent company must necessarily be implicated in such misconduct and most certainly profits from such misconduct.  That, in turn, means that Veolia as a whole – all of its divisions and subsidiaries – are implicated in such misconduct.  (Detailed evidence for Veolia being one commercial entity is set out in the Annex below, suggested letter to public authorities)

The “Derail Veolia” (or “Dump Veolia”) Campaign

As Veolia is a multinational with operations in many countries, this is an international campaign.

Excluding Veolia from public contracts

As Veolia is a multinational with operations in many countries, this is an international campaign.

Excluding Veolia from public contracts

Under European Community regulations a company can be excluded from bidding for a public contract, or being awarded one, on the grounds of grave misconduct.  The main thrust of the Derail Veolia campaign has been to demand that public authorities (mostly city or district councils), exercise this discretion in respect of Veolia companies on the grounds that aiding and abetting war crimes amounts to grave misconduct.  The British version of the European Directive is the Public Contract Regulations (2006) [section 23(4)(e)].   Ask your local council what contracts it has with Veolia and when they terminate.  You can be sure that Veolia will try and bid for the replacement contract.  Start your campaign with the council two years or more before termination as some councils award replacement contracts quite early, and your campaign will need time to have effect.   Even if your council has no contract with Veolia, or only a long term one, you can ask for Veolia to be excluded from all future contracts until its gives up support for Israel’s illegal settlements.

Current campaigns include Veolia’s exclusion from contracts with North London Waste Authority (£4.7billio)n, West London Waste Authority, Royal Parks (Regents Park), Leeds City, Hastings/East Sussex and Stroud District.

Campaign methods include letter writing, lobbying council members, presentations/delegations at council meetings, involving the media, petitions, demonstrations, etc.   http://www.salim.org.uk/veolia-model-motions-and-letters-to-councils.html  is a model motion for Councillors to submit for adoption by their Local Authority .

Asking  companies using Veolia’s services to switch contracts to another service provider

These contracts are usually with Veolia Environmental Services for waste collection or management.  Businesses and shops using Veolia can be identified by the Veolia Environmental Services (may also be marked Onyx or Cleanaway) rubbish skips in their yards.  Some national or regional businesses with many local establishments may have one central contract with Veolia.  Public contract regulations will not apply, but companies need to consider the effect on their reputation of doing business with a company like Veolia, complicit in war crimes.

Asking  churches, mosques and other places of worship using Veolia Environmental Services for refuse collection to switch to another provider

These contracts are likely to be local ones, so this is a way local congregations can take action.  Discussion of the issue will be a good opportunity to explain the whole Israel/Palestine conflict and BDS campaign.  Christian denominations and supervisory bodies of other faiths can be contacted centrally too and asked to persuade their places of worship to take action.

Disinvestment from Veolia

Managers of pension funds, church funds and ethical investment funds can be asked not to invest in Veolia Environnement, the parent company.  Ethical investment advisory groups associated with such funds can also be contacted.  Challenge the Church of England to disinvest from Veolia Environnement!

Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition and other sponsorship

Veolia has been sponsoring the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and Exhibitions for 2009, 2010, and 2011.  See http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/competition/about/sponsors.jsp .   Entries are received from many countries.  The exhibitions are on for many months at the Natural History Museum in London and then go on tour in Britain and other countries.  The 2011 exhibition opened in London in October 2011 and is expected to  continue until March 2012.  The exhibition presents an opportunity to protest against Veolia’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements and against the choice of a company complicit in war crimes as a sponsor.  Two well supported demonstrations were held in 2010.  The latter included an imaginative “alternative exhibition” of photos of the occupation, etc.

The French Court Case

This was one of the earliest initiatives.  Veolia Environnement (and Alstom, which as a member of the City Pass consortium has built the tramcars for the Jerusalem light rail transit) were taken to court by the French NGO AFPS.  AFPS lost the case but is appealing.  A win would have been a boost to the Dump Veolia campaign, but AFPS’s losing does not undermine our campaign, which has a different legal basis. Daniel Machover and Adri Nieuwhof have commented on the French verdict inhttp://electronicintifada.net/content/french-court-decision-jerusalem-light-rail-must-be-challenged/10115.  The central argument of the Dump Veolia campaign in UK has been that Veolia has been, and still is, complicit in Israel’s violation of international law and this complicity amounts to grave misconduct.  If Veolia had broken the law and been found guilty it would be superfluous to describe its support for Israel’s violation of international law as grave misconduct.  Our argument still holds water even if the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention do not give rise to rights under French law to private individuals against the companies in question (Veolia and Alstom).

Writing  to the Chairpersons and Chief  Executive Officers of the Veolia Companies

Veolia Environmental Services for waste collection and management; Veolia Water for water supply; and Veolia Transport for bus and coach services (and in other countries metro and light rail transit services too).  Veloway is Veolia Transport’s subsidiary for city cycle hire schemes.

Important Campaign Successes

Edinburgh, Richmond, Portsmouth, Winchester & East Hants, South London WastePartnership and London Borough of Ealing:  Since late 2010 Veolia has lost waste management contracts with all these authorities after vigorous local campaigns for exclusion.

Tower Hamlets (London) Borough:   The council passed a motion in February 2011to review all contracts with Veolia, not to place any more contracts with the company and to terminate any relationship with Veolia.

Swansea:   In June 2010 the council passed a motion to exclude Veolia from all future contracts:  “This Council therefore calls on the Leader & Chief Executive not to sign or allow to be signed any new contracts or renewal of any existing contracts with Veolia or any other company in breach of international law, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant
legislation.”

West Midlands (UK):   After a successful local campaign, Veolia Environmental Services lost the contract for waste management with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Stockholm Metro (Sweden):   Veolia Transport had been running the Stockholm metro for many years.  In 2009 it lost the replacement contract after a high profile public campaign.  This was a big blow to Veolia as the contract was worth several billion Euro.  Veolia’s finance manager for Sweden was sacked.  Stockholm City Council did not admit that the campaign was responsible, but it was widely acknowledged that this was the case.

Melbourne Metro (Australia):   After an effective campaign, Veolia Transport failed to win the contract for the Melbourne light rail transit.  For Veolia, another big contract lost.  Again a widely acknowledged victory for the campaign, despite the City Council’s denial.  Local authorities prefer to avoid controversy and as an easy way out can claim normal commercial considerations for their decision.

Bordeaux (France): In 2009, Veolia transport lost a 750 million Euro contract for the biggest urban network in France.

Dublin City (Ireland): Earlier in 2010 Dublin City Council instructed its City Manager not to grant or renew any contracts with Veolia.

Useful References:

Campaign materials:  http://www.salim.org.uk/veolia–general.html

Local resident explains why Palestinians will use buses not the light rail  – includes comparative ticket prices (9-11-10)

Deal in principle to sell Veolia’s stake in the light rail transit to Egged (15-10-10)

Veolia whitewashes illegal light rail project; doubtful benefit to Palestinians (26-8-10)

Veolia: Swansea City Council passes historic resolution to bar future contracts with Veolia (17-6-10)

Veolia tries to spin its involvement in the occupation (22-4-10)

Pressure continues on Veolia and Alstom to halt light rail project (5-2-10)

Veolia and Alstom continue to abet Israel’s rights violations (24-11-09)

[Deal with Dan later fell through] City Pass aware light rail will be discriminatory

French company runs Israeli bus services to settlements (11-3-09)

Time to hold Veolia to account (10-2-09)

Principled Dutch ASN Bank ends its relations with Veolia (26-11-06)

Technical details of the tramway and contract

Map of Road 443 and settlements served by Veolia bus services Connex 109 and 110

On Palestinians’ access since June 2010 to Road 443 on which Veolia bus services run:

http://un-truth.com/human-rights/do-the-court-ordered-changes-to-road-443-help-palestinian-movement(25-5-10).  For a better map: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article58392.ece .

ANNEX

Suggested text of a letter asking a public authority to exclude Veolia from a public contract

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 linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem .  Once built, the rail system will 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 “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 line is due to open in August 2011, with Veolia responsible for the operation.  With its involvement in this project, the company is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of the Palestinian territory of east Jerusalem irreversible.  Further, as a willing agent of these policies, Veolia is undermining the chances 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: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53 forbidding destruction of property.  In some cases in East Jerusalem these violations amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention (see Articles 146 and 147), as they involve extensive appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity.  These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s part in the construction and future operation of the tramway serving the settlements.   The tramway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territories contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3, also part of international law.

Veolia’s is recruiting operators for the tramway through an advertisement requiring Hebrew to mother tongue standard, no mention of Arabic, a clear indication that the tramway is expected to be used primarily by Jewish Israelis, not Palestinians.  Full army or civic service is also required, i.e. no Palestinians.

In April 2010 the UN Human Rights Council declared the tramway and its operation to be illegal (A/HRC/RES/13/7 of 14 April 2010).  The resolution was passed 44 to 1, with the UK, France 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.

Thus, through its involvement in the building and future operation of this tramway linking Israel’s illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, Veolia is facilitating Israel’s ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is complicit in its perpetuation of those breaches.  In other words, Veolia is involved in aiding and abetting on-going war crimes.  It is also facilitating, exacerbating, aiding and abetting Israel’s breach of the Hague Regulations.

Veolia also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel.  These are services 109 and 110, operated by its local company Connex.  These services link the settlements of Mevo Horon, Giv’at Ze’ev and Har Shmuel to Israel.  Until recently part of the route was an Apartheid road on which Palestinians from the West Bank were forbidden to travel, even though it passes through the West Bank.  In June 2010 the ban was partially lifted to comply with an Israeli court order, but at most West Bank Palestinians can still only use the Veolia buses between two stops about 5kms apart, and quite possibly not at all.

In March 2011 the Veolia Transport Division of Veolia Environnement merged with Transdev to form Veolia Transdev.  The merged company is 50% owned by Veolia Environnement, with the Chairman/CEO of Veolia Environnement also the Chairman of Veolia Transdev.  Veolia Environnement therefore still bears very substantial responsibility for and retains effective control of Veolia Transdev’s wholly owned subsidiary Veolia Transport Israel.

Veolia Transport Israel is trying to sell its 5% stake in the CityPass Consortium and its 80% stake in the tramway operating company to the Israeli company Egged.  But part of the deal is for Veolia Transport Israel to provide Egged with technical assistance in running the tramway for 5 years, so Veolia will still be involved in and profit from the tramway operation.  Veolia says that it is selling its stakes to take advantage of a good offer rather than trying to distance itself from services to settlements.

Veolia’s support for settlements does not stop there.  Through its subsidiary TMM, Veolia Transport Israel has been operating the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley for many years.  During this time Tovlan has been supporting Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank by taking their refuse.  There has also been a report of Tovlan receiving refuse from Israel itself, the occupier dumping its rubbish on the occupied.  Veolia says that it is selling Tovlan to a local buyer and may have already done so, but far from ending Veolia’s complicity, the deal will compound and perpetuate 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.  [Veolia’s involvement with Tovlan is not affected by the Veolia Transport/Transdev merger, for the subsidiary concerned is part of Veolia Environnement’s Environmental Services Division.]

Veolia’s participation in the tramway project breaches its obligations with respect to codes of conduct and conventions such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000) and the UN Global Compact (2000).  The latter’s first two principles state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.  Yet by supporting Israel’s illegal settlements Veolia flagrantly violates both of these provisions.

In 2005 Veolia Environnement’s four divisions adopted a single name, Veolia, and a new logo. As the Veolia website states, this move ‘signalled the desire of the entire company to link Veolia divisions in a coherent way and increase its visibility’.  By the end of 2010 Veolia had revenues of £30 billion and employed around 317,000 people.  Veolia’s revenues and profits are calculated as ‘a whole’, and the corporation is quoted on Euronext Paris and the New York Stock Exchange.  Indeed, even when reporting results, Veolia regards its subsidiaries as ‘divisions’ of itself and, significantly, Veolia regards its subsidiaries’ contracts, including those with British local authorities, as its own.  This is clearly illustrated in their statement that “The company [Veolia Environnement] won and renewed multiple contracts in its priority development zones, including: … Shropshire in the UK in the Environmental Services (Waste Management) division.”  See http://www.veoliaenvironnement.com/en/information/press-releases/press-release-details.aspx?PR=660 .

Further evidence that Veolia is one commercial entity is provided by a recent letter from Veolia Environmental Services (UK), which refers to “ascertaining the status of our involvement with the Jerusalem Light Railway.  All of your comments have been passed to the relevant departments within our company for their consideration.”  From the comments a few lines later it is clear that “relevant departments” included the Paris Head office, i.e. the head office of the parent company.  The letter goes on to refer to “our colleagues who are more closely linked to this project.”  It is abundantly clear from this that for Veolia Environmental Services (UK) ‘our company’ is the entire Veolia group, the Paris office of Veolia Environnement is Veolia Environmental Services (UK)’s Head Office, other Veolia Group companies are departments of Veolia as a whole, and all personnel within the Veolia Group are colleagues of Veolia Environmental Services (UK).

This approach is further reflected in the employment policies, as here: http://www.veolia.com/veolia/ressources/files/1/2329,Mobility-of-personnel.pdf  This shows Veolia’s commitment to allowing staff to move freely among the various divisions of Veolia Environnement, providing further evidence of one corporate entity.  See, in particular: page 29 where it says that an employee’s company service is based on their start date within the group; page 40 where it says that international transfers are written up in an amendment to the employment contract; and page 45 where it says that at the end of an expatriation assignment your original company will make it a priority to find you a new assignment in the division and that, whilst on expatriate assignment, your career advancement will continue to be monitored in the same way as other Veolia Environnement division employees.

Further, Veolia Environnment’s 2008 document “Ethics, Commitment and Responsibility” http://www.veolia.com/veolia/ressources/files/1/2288,ethics-programme_en.pdf, provides more clear evidence of one commercial entity.  The Forward “Our Corporate Commitment” describes the document as a guide for all our 336,013 employees worldwide, but it is one they must follow and so amounts to instructions.  “4.1  Safety and Morale in the Workplace” states “Employees must comply with instructions and procedures issued in these areas by- – – – -Veolia Environnement – – -.”  This is an unambiguous indication of the parent company’s control of its subsidiaries’ employees. The “Organisation” section states boldly that “All employees must comply with the Veolia Environnement “Ethics, Commitment and responsibility” programme.  The section “Organisation: 1.  Programme Scope of Application” states that “The Programme applies to all companies controlled by Veolia Environnement, that is to say all companies in which Veolia Environnement directly or indirectly owns or controls over 50% of the voting rights.”  This is a clear statement of the parent company’s control over VES (UK) and Veolia Environmental Services (Israel).  “Guiding principles” states “Our Divisions- – – all represent Veolia Environnement”, while “Social Responsibility”, section 3 of “Guiding Principles, includes “offering its employees – – – -long-term local employment”, which indicates that it is Veolia Environnement, the parent company, that is the real employer, even if the employee signs a contract with the local subsidiary.

It is entirely evident that Veolia treats itself as a single entity and profits and prospers as such.  This is also clear in the company’s own marketing and public corporate structure where it treats itself as a coherent whole.  As this is the case, the conduct of one division or subsidiary is the conduct of Veolia as a whole.  In short, if one subsidiary of Veolia is involved in activities of grave misconduct and profits from such conduct, then the parent company must necessarily be implicated in such misconduct and most certainly profits from such misconduct.  That, in turn, means that Veolia as a whole – all of its divisions and subsidiaries – are implicated in such misconduct.

Under the Public Contract Regulations (2006) a contracting authority may exclude an economic operator from bidding for a contract or may reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organisation in question has “committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession” (section 23(4)(e)).  This is an important provision that needs to be applied rigorously.

Veolia’s activities clearly constitute misconduct sufficiently grave to warrant the exclusion of its subsidiaries from public contracts.  Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what ‘misconduct’ could be more ‘grave’ than the aiding, abetting, facilitation or exacerbation of war crimes and human rights violations.

Accordingly, in light of the foregoing, please confirm as soon as possible that you will now exercise your discretion to exclude Veolia from bidding or renewing all public contracts with immediate effect, and in particular the upcoming contract – – – – -.

Map

Tramway route in blue
Separation wall in red
1949 Armistice line (“green line”) in green
Israeli illegal settlements in purple

Managers of pension funds, church funds and ethical investment funds can be asked not to invest in Veolia Environnement, the parent company.  Ethical investment advisory groups associated with such funds can also be contacted.  Challenge the Church of England to disinvest from Veolia Environnement!

(www.bigcampaign.org / 03.02.2012)

Palestinians Owe Ban Ki-moon No Apologies

Palestinian political prisoners are not only numbers

Last night, a new friend of mine noticed that I try to highlight the issue of Palestinian political prisoners in my writings. That led to a long chat about my interest in bringing out their stories. I started by describing how being the daughter of a former detainee has inspired a passion toward my homeland and the feeling of having a duty toward my people, especially our forgotten prisoners, within me.

I told him how attending the weekly protest with prisoners’ families in the Red Cross has turned to be a psychological cure for my own pains. It’s true. Sometimes I feel very sad, but as soon as I see a prisoner’s mother, wife, or daughter smiling, my spirit strangely rises. Interacting with the prisoners’ families and listening to their stories, full of suffering and pride, has created a warm relationship between us. They have become an important part of my life, and a reason to live.

I’ve always criticized the way prisoners are presented as numbers. Reports often show them as mere statistics, omitting that behind these figures there are humans desperate for dignified life and justice. Humanizing their issue by making their stories heard has been the main goal of my writings, with faith in humanity preserving my hope that their stories may wake the sleeping to take action.

Unconsciously, my life has recently centered on Khader Adnan. He is an administrative detainee who has been on hunger strike since December 17 to protest his illegal detention without trial. I have followed updates about his continuing hunger strike, his silence, his deteriorating health, the ban on his family visiting him, and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS)’s indifference and neglect of his situation. Gaza has held many events in solidarity with him and his family, who are terrified that each new dawn could bring news of his death.

Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Gaza

Families of prisoners and martyrs are protesting against Ban Ki_moon for his refusal to meet them.

(World Bulletin)

From Khader Adnan’s story, which has repeated itself thousands of times in Palestine, to news about United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Gaza, anger and frustration have dominated my mind.

Representatives of families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and martyrs’ families wanted to join the delegation that would meet Ban. Civil society figures made intensive efforts to ensure that this would happen so he could hear about their demands and long years of suffering. However, Ban simply refused to meet these people, who wanted his support and protection for their violated rights. An angry crowd, having heard of his repeated visits to former Israeli prisoner Gilaad Shalit, hurled shoes and stones at his convoy as it entered Gaza Thursday morning.

I watched the video of the prisoners’ families throwing shoes and stones. Honestly, it filled me with joy and pride in my people. I thought that it might make the Palestinian people look bad in front of the international community. But I would have only one response for those who might define Palestinians as mere throwers of shoes against diplomats: Those shoe throwers included angry relatives of prisoners who have endured terrible conditions at the hands of merciless Israeli jailers. They are frustrated with Ban’s biases toward Israel, and have witnessed more than enough of Israeli brutality, tyranny, and violations of their simplest rights guaranteed by international law and the Geneva Conventions. Those people have been filled with anger by more than five years of living under a closure imposed by Israel, and declared illegal by UN bodies. They haven’t been allowed to visit their relatives in prison since Hamas was democratically elected, boycotted by the UN, and marginalized as a terrorist organization.

Om Ibrahim Baroud joined the angry crowd that welcomed Ban “disrespectfully”

Watching the video, I saw Om Ibrahim Baroud join the crowd that greeted Ban. Baroud is the 75-year-old mother of a political prisoner who has spent 26 years in Israeli prisons, and for 26 years, she has never stopped calling for the freedom of her son. Despite her age, she has joined every hunger strike prisoners launched since her son was detained, and has never missed a protest for Palestinian political prisoners. She always says, “I am not only the mother of the detainee Ibrahim Baroud, but of all the prisoners and oppressed. I’ll keep calling for their freedom as long as I am alive”. Last Monday at the weekly protest in the Red Cross, she limped because of a pain in her leg, but was still fasting in solidarity with Khader Adnan and all prisoners. She spoke for the prisoners to the media, appealing to every human right organization to witness the suffering of Palestinian detainees and act.

A prisoner's mother is hitting Ban Ki-moon's convoy with a stick

Om Ibrahim Baroud, a prisoner’s mother wearing a white scarf, is hitting Ban Ki-moon’s convoy with a stick

(World Bulletin)

In the video, she was angry as never before, gathering all her physical power to hit Ban’s convoy with a stick. Her strength has always impressed everyone who knows her. “I know I am for Ban, nothing more than a mother of a ‘terrorist’”, she told me on the phone with rage. “Why would he bother to listen to me? He must know that I am the mother of a human being who deserves dignity even in detention. And I am a human who deserves to be heard”.

No one should blame this mother, who has been deprived of wrapping her arms around her son for 26 years. No one should blame her after she witnessed countless Israeli attacks on Gaza, especially the 2008-2009 war. She saw the phosphorous bombs, banned by international law, falling on civilians who took shelter in the Al-Fakhoura UNRWA School after fleeing their homes. She lives near it. Don’t blame her when she explodes with anger after hearing of Ban Ki-moon’s thanks to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak – the architect of the 2008-2009 war – for his “generosity” towards Gaza; his generosity in redeeming the world of 352 children whom, if they hadn’t been killed, would have grown up into terrorists to threaten the holy security of Israel. Don’t blame her or any Palestinian when UN did nothing against Israel for the war crimes Israel committed even at UNRWA sites.  Instead, they are biased toward Israel, while we have been terrorized daily by the Israeli Occupation ever since it was illegally established through ethnic cleansing.

Palestinians owe Ban Ki-moon no apologies

After this “disrespectful welcome” of Ban Ki-moon by the angry families of prisoners and martyrs, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) shamefully sent apologies to him.

But I’ll allow myself to speak on behalf of Palestinians and say proudly: “We make no apologies!” And I add: “The PLO doesn’t represent us.” Palestinians aren’t the ones who should apologize. The one who should apologize is who keeps talking of human rights, yet sees human rights continuingly and openly violated by Israel, but does nothing, instead covering up Israel’s crimes against humanity.  Actually, thousands of apologies wouldn’t suffice to heal the long, bleeding wounds that Palestinians suffer from the long course of Israel’s occupation and existence.

(electronicintifada.net / 03.02.2012)

PFLP: UN is responsible for Palestinian suffering; Ban must meet with Palestinian society

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said on February 1, 2012 that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Gaza is not a serious step towards acting or even recognizing the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, saying that Ki-Moon’s refusal to meet with refugee and right of return committees, families of prisoners, and victims of the siege shows blatant disregard of the rights and suffering of the Palestinian people.

It was announced, said the Front, that Ban Ki-Moon will visit the Gaza Strip on February 2, 2012, to see the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Strip and to visit projects of the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). However, the UN office in both Gaza and the West Bank has hand-picked a limited number of figures to meet him and talk to him, excluding refugee and right of return organizations, prisoners’ families organizations, groups of victims of the crimes of the occupation and representatives of civil society organizations.

The Front pointed out that this comes in the direct context of the United Nations ignoring its responsibilities toward the rights and suffering of the Palestinian people, and called for the visit to be extended and meetings arranged with representative sectors of Palestinian society to meet with the Secretary-General to reflect the reality of the Palestinian situation.

Comrade Rabah Muhanna, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, said that “The refusal of the visit’s organizers to allow Ban Ki-Moon to meet with representatives of these sectors mean that this visit is a sham and a false facade meant to obscure the reality, which is that the UN has not acted according to its charter and its own resolutions to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and enforce Palestinian rights, including especially, the right of refugees to return.” Muhanna said that the UN is a “direct cause of the suffering of the Palestinian people, from the Nakba to the present day.”

Human rights activists in Gaza invited to the meeting have turned down invitations to the meeting unless representatives of refugee organizations, prisoners’ associations and others, are invited, including Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights director Essam Younis and civil society organizer Amjad al-Shawa.

(nsnbc.wordpress.com / 03.02.2012)

1 Child, 1 Young Man Wounded As Army Bombards Gaza

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian child and a young man were wounded on Friday at dawn, when the Israeli Air Force bombarded a number of areas in the coastal region.

The Palestinian News and Info Agency, WAFA, reported that an Israeli “Apache” chopper fired at least one missile at a residential area west of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, causing damage to a number of homes, also wounding a resident in his twenties, and a 4-year-old child identified as Hayat Taha.

The two were moved to Kamal Odwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, suffering mild-to-moderate injuries.

Furthermore, F-16 Israeli jets carried out two airstrikes targeting Jabalia City, and Jabalia an-Nazla, in northern Gaza; damage was reported, and a warehouse caught fire.

The army also carried out several airstrikes targeting areas in Khan Younis and Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and a fourth airstrike targeting an area in al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.

According to Palestinian sources, the targets included a smuggling tunnel east of Rafah, and several buildings. The Israeli Army confirmed the strikes, stating that they targeted smuggling tunnels and weapon mills, claiming that secondary explosions could be heard indicating that they hit their targets.

(www.imemc.org / 03.02.2012)

Official: Israeli settlers tour Beit Ummar


HEBRON (Ma’an) — For the second time in two weeks, settlers made a tour of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, according to a spokesman for the town’s popular committee.

Muhammad Ayyad Awad said that more than 100 Kfar Etzion settlers toured Beit Ummar under the protection of Israeli forces. During the tour, they made provocative remarks which eventually sparked clashes.

Awad said the clashes erupted in the Asida area, and residents threw rocks at the settlers. Israeli forces responded by firing live ammunition and stun grenades, he added.

Ahmad Abu Hashem, the coordinator of the popular committee, said Karmei Tzur settlement security official have announced that the settlement will expand and 200 dunums will be confiscated from the village.

Meanwhile, around 200 settlers with 12 Israeli army jeeps raided Baraka village east of Yatta and set up six temporary houses in an attempt to create a new outpost near Ma’on settlement.

Separately, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian resident on Friday after police dogs attacked him during clashes between Palestinian and Israeli forces in the Tabqa area south of Hebron.

Locals said Akram Jamal was attacked by the dog after Israeli forces released it. The forces refused to allow a Red Crescent team to give him first aid before detaining him.

Also Friday, Palestinians tossed Molotov cocktails at an Israeli military patrol near al-Aroub, settler media reported. There were no reports of injury or damage.

(www.maannews.net / 03.02.2012)

Syria forces break up Hama protest marking killings

BEIRUT (Reuters) — Syrian forces shot dead one person in the city of Hama on Friday as they broke up a protest marking the anniversary of a 1982 massacre by troops loyal to President Bashar Assad’s father, activists said.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces dispersed demonstrators in the Janoub al-Malaab district of Hama, where residents had planned to release 1,000 red balloons to mark the killing of more than 10,000 people when Hafez al-Assad’s forces crushed an Islamist uprising.

Violence has raged on as diplomats at the United Nations wrangle over an Arab and Western draft resolution condemning today’s Syrian authorities for a military crackdown on an 11-month-old revolt in which thousands of people have been killed.

Activists reported arrests and heavy gunfire in several areas and said at least 18 people were killed across Syria.

Violence also returned to the main commercial hub Aleppo, which has so far remained largely on the sidelines of the uprising but which is now home to a growing opposition movement.

Eight soldiers were killed in clashes with army deserters in the southern province of Deraa and seven people were killed in Damascus province, where the government beat back rebels who temporarily seized towns last week.

Syria’s government says foreign-backed militants are behind the uprising against 42 years of Assad family rule. Authorities prevented any commemoration of the Hama killings in all that time.

Activists had said protests would be held across Syria on Friday after the main weekly Muslim prayers under the banner “Hama, forgive us”.

Video footage on the Internet, purportedly filmed in Hama on Friday, showed dozens of people in a sidestreet waving green, white and black rebel flags and chanting “freedom forever”.

On Thursday, Hama residents coated many streets with red paint to mark the four-week assault on the city and the razing of its old town by Hafez al-Assad’s forces in February 1982.

At the UN Security Council, Arab and Western drafters of a resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown revised their text on Thursday in an effort to avoid a Russian veto, though their draft included language Moscow has rejected.

(www.maannews.net / 03.02.2012)