Activism

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

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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)

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A big hooray!

“Tip of the BDS iceberg” indeed.

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.

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

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.