Opinion Paper: International law and government responsibilities in relation to the activities of Veolia Corporation in the occupied Palestinian Territories
Introduction Our first position in this opinion paper is that Veolia’s activities in occupied Palestinian territories, and in particular a light rail line on occupied and annexed Palestinian land in East Jerusalem is illegal. The light rail follows mainly the Green Line. Land was confiscated in Shuafat. Additional land was confiscated in Shuafat to make way for a station and car parking. Of greatest concern is that the line connects illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, facilitating Israel’s illegal settlements. Palestinians who nonviolently resist the theft of their land are met with further violations, including arbitrary arrest, detention without trial and even torture by the Israeli occupation forces. Our second, related position is that Veoia’s involvement in these illegal activities trigger legal obligations in other countries that Veolia operates, including the country of Finland, and particularly in relation to criminal liability and public tendering. The land on which the light rail is constructed includes East Jerusalem, part of the West Bank, which Israel occupied in 1967. For more than four decades, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian land not for military purposes, effectively annexing West Bank land to expand its territory. This is a serious and direct violation of international humanitarian law. There are now more than 450,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, also a serious and direct violation of international humanitarian law, which forbids an occupier from transferring its civilian population to the territory it occupies. Israel has also committed serious and direct breaches of international humanitarian law by substantially altering the nature of the occupied territory in a way that does not benefit the local (occupied) population. The light rail project is part and parcel of this, as it is clearly infrastructure designed to benefit the illegal settlements that have been built on stolen Palestinian land.
Handmaker, J.D, & van den Biesen, P. (2014). Opinion Paper: International law and government responsibilities in relation to the activities of Veolia Corporation in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/51302