RAMALLAH, May 28, 2012 (WAFA) – The Palestinian human rights group, Al-Haq, Monday welcomed in a statement a decision by the Dutch city of The Hague not to award Veolia Transport Nederland Openbaar Vervoer, a Dutch subsidiary of the French Veolia Group, the public transport contract for all bus transportation in The Hague’s city district.
Al-Haq had earlier this month and prior to the Dutch local authority’s decision in the public transport tender expressed “its grave concern” about the participation of Veolia Transport Nederland Openbaar Vervoer in The Hague’s public transport tender, describing that participation as “particularly problematic due to the city’s reputation as the ‘International City of Peace and Justice.’”
The action by the rights group came in light of Veolia’s participation in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway, which Al-Haq had said “the project is not in line with the United Nation's demand to stop all support for Israel's settlement activities.” Israel occupied and then annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, a step not recognized by any country.
In a letter dating back to August 2007, Al-Haq called on Veolia Environnement SA to discontinue its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Railway and other such infrastructure as part of Veolia’s commitment undertaken within the UN Global Compact and to halt its contribution to Israel’s ongoing violations of international law.
“The decision of the Dutch local authority for the urban district Haaglanden continues a trend of Veolia being excluded from contracts in other major urban centers across the globe, such as Victoria (Australia), London (United Kingdom), Stockholm (Sweden), Edinburgh (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland) and Bordeaux (France),” said the Al-Haq statement.
“Al-Haq’s recent advocacy efforts in The Hague are part of a long-term commitment to object to the activities of Veolia, a French multinational providing infrastructure through its subsidiaries to Israeli local authorities, for its involvement in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway linking West Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank,” explained the statement.
On April 14, 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC Resolution 13/7) specifically declared the Jerusalem Light Railway to be “in clear breach of international law and relevant UN resolutions.”
Al-Haq said, “Such infrastructure contributes to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and of other parts of the West Bank.”
It accused Veolia, operating through a network of wholly- or partially-owned subsidiaries, of also providing other infrastructural support to Israeli authorities, including the operation of the Tovlan landfill site in the Jordan Valley. The site is used to dispose of waste collected from Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.