Protesters up in arms over government link to illegal Israeli settlements

Protesters take a stand against multinational company Veolia’s right to bid for government contracts.
Image: Ben Finch

Protesters gathered outside Islington Town Hall on Tuesday night to demonstrate against possible council involvement with a multinational company with contracts in Israel.

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) is currently offering a £4.7 bn contract for goods and services which Veolia Environnement is competing for.

The authority serves Islington and six other boroughs, and is responsible for collecting and disposing of refuse across North London.

Veolia has been accused of aiding Israel in building illegal settlements in the West Bank by providing infrastructure, transport and waste disposal to settlers. Because of this, protesters from the ‘No 2 Veolia Action Group’ say that the company should not be allowed to bid for government procurement programmes.

Anne Dyas, 59, a protester from Barnet, said: “Veolia is guilty of grave misconduct. It breaks international law. It’s assisting with Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

“It’s in contradiction of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. If it’s the EU’s and our government’s decision that the settlements are illegal, where is the consistency? Why are we giving public contracts to companies that are assisting with this?”

The NLWA say its position is constrained by EU competition law, which they have to abide by. A spokesperson said: “The legal position is very clear and these are not issues that the NLWA can or will in any way take into account.

“Rather, in undertaking this procurement the authority will do so in accordance with procurement legislation and ensure that a fair and proper competition is run with the winner being the bidder who will offer the best overall package for the benefit of north London residents.”

A spokesperson for Veolia said: “Veolia Environnement has a presence in Israel through its operating local subsidiaries owned by Veolia Israel. In relation to the Occupied Territories, there are no current plans to undertake any further activities or to service the Israeli settlements situated therein.”

Islington Council declined to comment.