- Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Welcomes Galway City Council Motion Against Veolia
- Second such motion in recent months, all Councils should push for similar motions
For Immediate Release:
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today welcomed last night’s decision by Galway City Council to refuse to sign or renew any further contracts with French multinational Veolia as a result of their operations in the Occupied Palestinain Territories. The full text of the joint motion is carried below:
Councillor Billy Cameron (Labour Party):
That Galway City Council follow the example of Stockholm Community Council (who have decided not to renew the contract with Veolia to operate the City’s underground system as a result of Veolia’s involvement in a controversial tramway project that would connect Israeli-West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory) and not renew the Veolia contract for Galway Water Services.
Councillor Collette Connolly (Labour Party):
(1) That Veolia is a leading partner in the consortium contracted to build a light railway system linking Israel to illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
(2) That the Irish Government and the U.N. does not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law.
(3) That Veolia’s involvement in the project is in contravention of the UN’s stated demand that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported;
This Council calls on the City Manager not to sign or renew any contracts with Veolia.
IPSC spokesperson Kevin Squires welcomed the decision, saying: “This is a small but significant victory for the campaign for Palestinian human and national rights. We salute the members of Galway City Council who voted in favour of the motion for their strong and principled stance on this issue. We are also grateful to the people of Galway who lobbied strongly for the motion in the past weeks.”
Mr. Squires also stated that: “This is the second such motion to have been passed in recent months – in February Sligo County Council adopted a similar proposal. We believe that all local councils and in Ireland should follow the examples of Galway and Sligo and push for motions calling for refusal to sign or renew contracts with Veolia while they continue their involvement in the construction of tramways serving illegal settlements in Palestine.”
“These motions show that there are practical and effective actions which can be taken at a local level to object to and obstruct the illegal actions of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. There will be local elections this year and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be ensuring that the Palestinian issue – especially in relation to Veolia – will be brought up on doorsteps around the country. Palestinian civil society has continuously called on the international community to promote and implement an effective campaign of boycott. The decision by Galway City Council is a significant response to that call,” Mr. Squires continued.
Mr. Squires concluded: “The IPSC, and all friends of the Palestinian people, call on the City Management to respect the democratic wishes of Galway City Council and the people of Galway and to ensure that no contracts are signed or renewed with Veolia until they cease aiding and abetting Israel’s illegal occupation. We also urge Veolia to end their collaboration with the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands – and would suggest the company reflect on recent campaigns in Europe that have had an adverse effect on the company’s public image, to see that there is genuine anger over their operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.
Why target Veolia?
Veolia is directly implicated in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and, through its construction of a light railway there, is facilitating Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem irreversible and permanent.
The Irish Government and the U.N. do not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law – numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s Apartheid Wall have confirmed this. The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which provides that: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53, which forbids destruction of property. These violations in some cases in East Jerusalem amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention, (Articles 146 and 147), as they involve appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity. These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s participation in the construction and future of the tramway serving the settlements.