‘Tip of the BDS iceberg’: Kuwait excludes Veolia from $750m contract

Activism

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) warmly welcomes the decision by the Kuwait City Municipality exclude the French company Veolia from a huge solid waste management contract, valued at $750 million, citing the BNC appeal to that affect. Basing its decision on Veolia’s complicity in Israeli projects that violate international law, the municipality also decided to exclude Veolia from “all future projects.”

According to reliable sources in Kuwait, following this humiliating defeat, Veolia was compelled to withdraw from a tender for a project to expand the “Um Al-Haiman” waste water treatment station after qualifying for it. The project is valued at about $1.5 billion.

Even before this total loss of contracts worth $2.25B, Veolia had already lost or had to pull out of tenders worth approximately $24 billion, mainly in the UK, Sweden, Ireland and the U.S.

Veolia has been forced to admit that the campaign against it is having a major impact and recently announced that it intends to sell off its Israeli  water, waste, and energy businesses, having already sold off its share in companies that operate bus lines through illegal Israeli settlements. The campaign against Veolia shall continue until it ends all aspects of its participation in Israeli violations of international law, including by withdrawing from the Jerusalem Light Rail and the Tovlan landfill, two infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements.

The BNC appealed a few months ago to Kuwait’s Government and parliament to exclude Veolia because of its involvement in a number of Israeli projects that blatantly violate international law and the Palestinian human rights, including the “Jerusalem Light Rail” that connects the illegal settlements in and around occupied Jerusalem with the city.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had also called upon Kuwait’s Government “to boycott and exclude Veolia” because of “complicity with the Israeli occupation in violating international humanitarian law, especially in occupied Jerusalem.”

Zaid Shuaibi, the BNC’s Arab Affairs Coordinator stated that, “Following Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza, it is incumbent upon all of us to intensify our BDS campaigns to hold accountable by further isolating it in all fields.”

Shuaibi added, “Complicit international corporations, such as Veolia, G4S and HP, that enable Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid must pay a price for profiting from Israel’s occupation and human rights violations. They must be excluded from public and private contracts in the Arab world as well as in every country that upholds international law and supports the pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.”

This latest BDS victory against Veolia in Kuwait is seen by observers as “the tip of the BDS iceberg” in the Arab world.

(Originally published at BDSmovement.net)

About Palestinian BDS National Committee

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. For more information, visit www.bdsmovement.net/BNC.

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16 Responses

  1. just
    September 29, 2014, 12:23 pm

    A big hooray!

    “Tip of the BDS iceberg” indeed.

    • Marnie
      September 30, 2014, 8:42 am

      It’s a good start – lots of decent news lately :-)

      • Horizontal
        September 30, 2014, 1:40 pm

        After I learned that Victoria’s Secret was on the BDS list, I could no longer enjoy their commercials. I think that’s the only company that I’m actually going to miss supporting . . .

  2. amigo
    September 29, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Iceberg indeed and Israel is “Steaming ” at full speed right at it.

    And the band plays on.

    Nearer My God to thee.

    Titanic II –Coming soon to a theater near you.

    • Laurent Weppe
      September 29, 2014, 4:21 pm

      And if the titanic comparison holds true to its bitter end, the israeli upper-class will hog all the lifeboats for Europe and North America and let their middle and working class “compatriots” sink aboard the ship with neither shame nor remorse

      • pabelmont
        September 29, 2014, 8:52 pm

        I’ve always doubted the “titanic” idea for BDS, because the process of BDS is usually (or so far) so very gradual. I wish it were faster or more general. I wish its triumphs were better known.

        But what I imagine is that profits will decline, slowly but discernibly, for enough Israeli companies that the capitalists who — as in the USA — run things will tell the government that it is time to end the settlements regime, remove all the settlers, destroy all the settlements and the wall, end the straightjacket on Gaza, and maybe more. I imagine this will happen, but not soon, and not in a rush. It will be gradual. Of course that could be the boil-a-frog scenario and never result in the result I desire, but I think businessmen can read the writing on the wall. and can get things done. And of course “democracy” could result in Israeli citizens taking notice of the squeeze of BDS and then either [1] calling on the government to get with the BDS program or [2] calling on the government to get even worse. (You never can tell with democracies. Especially in the presence of an ideology-controlled media.)

  3. Danaa
    September 29, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Veolia is a good step. However, what about Intel planning to spend $6B in Israel?

    I understand the BDS committee focuses on companies with demonstrable link to the settlements. But, unless they also start taking on these “big investors” like Intel, I am not sure we’ll see that much progress in getting BDS into the consciousness of a zombie world that’s being propagandized into eternal sleep, unless they start taking on the really big players.

    I am actually not sure whether Intel is on the list of sanctioned companies under BDS (will check). If they are, I think there should be an upward tick in the level of consciousness raising about this company. It is by no means an easy target. However, I should think that a letter writing campaign about them investing in a country of war criminals and child murderers should be a good start (and the “child murderers” is by no means a hyperbole. Most israelis were OK with what their sons, daughters, fathers, brothers and friends did in Gaza. They just wanted more of the same).

    • amigo
      September 29, 2014, 2:21 pm

      “Veolia has been forced to admit that the campaign against it is having a major impact”

      Danaa, perhaps if the HP execs see enough Veolias admitting BDS hurts they may begin to readjust their approach.

      Little acorns and all that.

    • HarryLaw
      September 29, 2014, 5:38 pm

      Danaa “Veolia is a good step, however,what about intel planning to spend $6Bin Israel?” The difference, as you imply is that Veolia are operating in occupied territory, whereas Intel would be operating in Israel proper. I agree that all of Israel should be Boycotted, and there should be no investments in any part of Israel or occupied territory, but that is an uphill battle. For instance Abbas said in South Africa recently we do not want any company to Boycott Israel, only those companies operating in occupied territory, in my opinion Abbas is the worst leader any occupied country could have, but if Abbas and Co cannot be convinced, why should big multinationals?

      • pabelmont
        September 29, 2014, 8:58 pm

        Harry, Exactly! BDS must target all-of-Israel. Imagine, for instance, a revision of occupation in which NO Israeli companies making products do so in OPTs or using materials taken out of OPTs. And all the settlers still there! Then there’d be nothing for OPTs-only-BDS to focus on. And the problems would remain.

        The BDS-for-OPTs-only is a liberal Zionist ploy (or in its style). It makes no sense. and Abbas is apparently caught in the jaws of the usual corruption. He should be joining ICC without talking about it. He should be calling for an end to settlements, entirely, instead of calling for negotiations. Being a puppet of USA/Israel does not grow giants, at least, Abbas is not a giant.

  4. Neil Schipper
    September 29, 2014, 4:40 pm

    I’d wonder whether this decision has much more to do with local circumstances — bribes from competitors? skimming opportunities? — than with sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and solidarity with their cause.

    If the sympathy and solidarity are genuine, Kuwaiti elites have come a very long way:

    Before the 1990 crisis, some official sources estimated that Palestinians in Kuwait were about 400,000,[13] others estimated them to be about 450,000. [..] By 1995, there were only 26,000 Palestinians in Kuwait [..]

    The terror campaign after the war started as early as the arrival of the Kuwaiti forces on February 26, 1991. Kuwaiti militants were quoted saying that they would shoot suspected Palestinians when they found them in their apartments. Four main militia groups and two state institutions participated in a concerted effort to terrorize and persecute Palestinians in Kuwait. Two of the militias were headed by the state security officers Adel Al-Gallaf and Hussain Al-Dishti. The third was headed by Amin Al-Hindi, a gangster who specialized in rape, torture, stealing, and killing. The fourth was the group known as August 2nd, which specialized in psychological warfare against Palestinians. The army and the police forces represented the two state institutions that were involved in this terror campaign.

    ..

    The Crown Prince returned to Kuwait on March 4, 1991, ten days before the Emir. As the terror campaign increased, he became wary of the atrocities committed against innocent people. Therefore, he issued instructions to Kuwaiti police officers not to mistreat Palestinians on nationality basis only. Nevertheless, police centers became headquarters for the oppression and persecution of Palestinians in the country. On March 19, the government resigned under criticism of inefficiency.[41]

    Abdullah Al-Nibari, who was the spokesman of the opposition group “the Democratic Forum,” called for the formation of a national-unity government that would include opposition leaders. Moreover, opposition groups called for the removal of the three senior figures of Al-Sabah family who held the portfolios of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Interior ministries. These were Sabah Al-Ahmed, Ali Al-Khalifa, and Nawaf Al-Ahmed, respectively.[42]

    The three shaikhs were unhappy when they knew that they were not included in the new government that was formed on April 1991. In particular, Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmed was the most outraged. Therefore, he backed the defiance of the Younger Sabahs for the Crown Prince. A new wave of terror started by the militias, the army, and the police against innocent Palestinians in an attempt to disturb the peace the Crown Prince was trying to restore. This provoked the Crown Prince to acknowledge the abuses in a speech aired on TV, on May 26, 1991.[43] He also vowed to prosecute anyone responsible even if he were his only son, Fahd.[44] He added that residents of Kuwait were living in the “shadow of terror, fear, and fright,” and that certain elements were detaining residents of Kuwait and handing them over to police stations where they would be “tortured.” He also urged the senior officers of the Ministry of Interior Affairs to “remove disillusioned and bad elements in the Ministry who do not want security and stability as much as they want fulfill their desires.”[45]

    In defiance, a hysterical wave of persecution against Palestinians spread in the streets, neighborhoods, and homes, the following day. People were beaten, harassed, and taken to police centers to be tortured without any reason other than being Palestinians.[46] Moreover, majority of senior police officers (about 80) presented their resignations, in protest to the Crown Prince’s speech. The New York Times4[47] reported that they were fired. However, the biggest defiance to the Crown Prince’s bid for peace and public order came from the Young Sabahs, known as the “goon squad.”

    As early as March 5, 1991, Kuwaitis became aware of the existence of a group composed of members of Al-Sabah family whose aim was to punish and assassinate opponents, as Chairman of the Gulf Bank of Kuwait Abdul Aziz Sultan told the ABC-TV’s “Nightline.”[48] According to a Western diplomat, six or seven of the younger members of Al-Sabah family shortly after February 27 commandeered armored personnel carriers and took over army checkpoints to “ferret out and abuse Palestinians.” They also formed goon squads to carry out special attacks.[49] Although their names were not published in the American media, the American Embassy in Kuwait gave the Crown Prince a list of them.[50] They were Jarrah, Du’aij Al-Salman, Nasser Al-Ahmed, Ahmed Fahd Al-Ahmed, and Fahd Sa’ad Al-Abdullah, the Crown Prince’s son. In addition, Bassil Salem Sabah took over the Nugra Police Center in the largest Palestinian neighborhood.[51] Their militias kidnapped, tortured, and killed Palestinians indiscriminately, without trial or due process.[52]

    The Young Sabahs acted as vigilantes despite warnings from the Crown Prince that they would be hanged “from the lamp-posts” if they continued such acts. ……con’t

    Palestinians in Kuwait: Terror and Ethnic Cleansing

  5. Kay24
    September 29, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Excellent move. This is a gigantic loss for Veolia. I hope the other Arab nations will do the right thing and stop giving lucrative deals to companies with Israeli connections. Hit them where it hurts most.

  6. Horizontal
    September 30, 2014, 1:35 pm

    When either the president or the State Department comes out with one their wimpy “The United States deems these actions counter-productive to the peace process” statements you know that nothing is going to happen, but just look how much Israel freaked out when the FAA cancelled flights to Ben Gurion International Airport for a day or two.

    Money talks & well, you know the rest . . .

  7. Pixel
    October 4, 2014, 8:15 pm

    .
    Well, I’ll be damned.

  8. samlebon2306
    April 9, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Hi everyone. Please make sure your next computer, tablet or any computing device doesn’t include an Intel chip inside. Go with AMD or any ARM chip vendor.
    Thank you.

  9. Froggy
    February 2, 2016, 9:45 am

    Good!

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