Facebook share Share on TwitterRSS feed

Innovative Minds © 2014. All Rights Reserved. www.inminds.co.uk

[Boycott - Israel Supporters]

The Israel Veolia "Connexxion"

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada
13 September 2006

Veolia has been active in Israel since 1993 and has emerged as the 'main French company operating in Israel'

The French Embassy website

Veolia's partnership in an Israeli project for a tramline, to be constructed on occupied Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem has drawn the attention of advocacy groups around the world who have responded to the call by Palestinian civil society for campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Building on an earlier article about the tramline in East Jerusalem with Veolia Environment head office in France and a Dutch Bank that invests in the company[1], let us further explore the background of the transnational company Veolia Environment.

Veolia Environment

The Veolia corporation was founded in 1853 in France as Compagnie Generale des Eaux (CGE). By the time the Vivendi corporation acquired the company in 1998, CGE was one of the two largest water companies in the world. In 2002, after Vivendi sold its share in CGE, the company was renamed Veolia.

Veolia is 'very present'
in Israel

The transnational corporation has acquired various businesses in the areas of water, waste management, energy and transportation, which were all 'branded' under the joint name of Veolia in 2005. Veolia Environment states it is the world leader in environmental services with more than 270,000 employees and generating a revenue of €25.2 billion in 2005. Veolia Transport is active in 24 countries around the world, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. On Veolia's website[2] an overview of activities can be found of Connex/Veolia Transport.

In June 2006, Veolia launched a campaign with the support of a leading advertising agency, under the slogan 'If someone says environment, what springs to mind?'

Veolia in Israel

On IsraelValley, the official website of the French Israeli Chamber of Commerce,[3] an overview of Veolia's activities in Israel can be found. As a director of Veolia notes, the company is 'very present' in Israel. Through the Onyx company, Veolia is involved in Israeli waste management. Veolia Water is principal partner in the exploitation of the world's largest desalination factory of its kind in Ashkelon. Veolia Energy (Dalkia) is also active and Veolia Transport (Connex) recently won a contract for the operation of sixty buses between Tel Aviv and Netanya. According to the Veolia director, 'life in Israel differs only in one aspect from Europe: once and a while there is an alert for the Qassam rockets that are fired from the Gaza Strip'.

The French Embassy in Israel also provides information on Veolia Environment. The Embassy reported at the end of August on its website that Veolia has been active in Israel since 1993 and has emerged as the 'main French company operating in Israel'.[4]

The Embassy also reports that Veolia has donated one million shekels to "Voila! A French season in Israel" a cultural event from May to July to promote French culture in Israel.[5] Veolia Israel is the principal partner in this event.[6] Several other French and Israeli partners, including the cities of Paris and Toulouse,are also supporting this event.

Veolia in troubled waters

Veolia, formerly known as Vivendi Universal, is notorious for having been heavily involved in corporate corruption. Public Citizen, the non profit consumer organisation founded by Ralph Nader, reports:

Bribery convictions, raids on corporate offices by evidence-seeking securities investigators, class action suits filed by shareholders on both sides of the Atlantic, collapses in both its stock price and its credit rating, massive debt necessitating a fire-sale of assets, a discredited and ultimately ousted corporate chieftain, dizzying financial uncertainty, an identity crisis - little wonder that Veolia has scrambled to distance from its erstwhile corporate parent.[7]

An internet research on Veolia shows that the company still regularly draws the negative attention of the media.

In 2004, Emmanuel Petit, the administrator of a company owned by Veolia that was involved in business in the Middle East, publicly raised concern about a bribery practice in Dubai. Veolia and/or Total had allegedly received eighteen million dollars in return for a two hundred million dollar contract for the construction of a desalination factory. In 2005, Petit reported to the French prosecutor that he had received death threats. His wife was attacked with a box-cutter knife.[8]

In November 2005, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that one of Veolia's United States subsidiaries was embroiled in a federal investigation over the alleged falsification of water quality records. Another was being sued by the town of Rockland, Massachusetts for contract violations, after the town administrator was advised to terminate its sewer plant contract with the company.[9]

Another scandal involving Veolia also drew considerable attention. 18 November 2005 was an international day of action against Connex to support workers in Sweden, who protested against the anti-union policy of Connex in general and the firing of Per Johansson, chairman of the metro drivers' union of Stockholm, in particular. As a trade unionist, Johansson was focused on safety and a healthy working environment.[10]

Other reports can be found on the internet, concerning other strikes of Connex workers. Strikes have been undertaken in Britain in relation to issues of safety[11] and in Finland concerning a practice of only offering short term contracts.[12]

If someone says Veolia, what springs to mind?

Public Citizen published 'Veolia Environment: A Corporate Profile' in the context of its Water for All program in February 2005. The report, available on Public Citizen's website, concludes:

Despite Veolia's global track record of corruption, broken promises, environmental degradation, price-gouging, obfuscation, misdirection and secrecy, the world's largest water company continues to enjoy substantial support within powerful pockets of financial and political circles. In some instances, the private water industry has garnered that support the old-fashioned way - by bribing officials..... While publicly operated water systems are managed to deliver clean, safe and affordable water to you and your family, privately operated systems (like Veolia Water) are managed to get as much money as possible from you and your family.... Veolia is not the solution. But as the company has demonstrated time and again, in every corner of the globe, Veolia is part of the problem.[13]

Veolia's involvement in the tramway project in East Jerusalem has led to international protests. The Irish tramline company Luas, run by Veolia, was forced by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign to cancel its contract with Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. Amnesty International France has requested Veolia not to sign the contract because it raises serious questions about international law violations.

So, if someone says Veolia, what will spring to your mind?

Adri Nieuwhof is a psychologist and human rights advocate.


[1] A. Nieuwhof, Isolate Israel - Campaign for justice!, Stop the Wall Campaign (25 June 2006)

[2] Veolia Transport

[3] Israel Valley: Official Site of the Israel France Chamber of Commerce

[4] Embassy of France in Israel

[5] Voila!

[6] Embassy of France in Israel

[7] Public Citizen

[8] Menaces sur un homme qui parle trop, Liberation (11 July 2006)

[9] Bidder's links to corruption claims, Sydney Morning Herald (26 November 2005)

[10] International Action Alert - Connex is a threat to security and democracy, Indymedia (18 November 2005)

[11] Rail strike brings victory, The Guardian, (9 February 2000)

12] Finnish Embassy in Japan

[13] Veolia Environment: a corporate profile (PDF) Public Citizen, 2005

Source: http://electronicintifada.net/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/19/5723

Also Of Interest

Page URL: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10047
Support Us
If you agree with our work then please support us.

Give one time donation:

Setup monthly donation:
INMINDS Facebook Live Feed
Latest Video's
Latest News..
[all-by date]
[all-by category]
[all-by modify date]
INMINDS Twitter Feed
Boycott Israel Campaign
Featured Video's
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.
Why boycott Israel on Campus[1:50:05]
12 London universities discuss need for BDS on campuses. Speakers include Rafeef Ziadeh, Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi & Mike Cushman
Love Letters to Gaza[31:08]
A unique theatrical event using personal messages of love, support and hope from people of all ages and all walks of life to the people of Gaza.
John Pilger[7:55]
journalist and documentary maker
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Julian Assange[7:07]
founder of WikiLeaks
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Lauren Booth, Sami Ramadani & Yvonne Ridley[6:28]
Reading the names of the dead
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
George Galloway[6:39]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Jemima Khan[8:42]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Why Boycott Marks & Spencer 2011?[23:29]
Demo outside M&S Oxford Street(24 Sept 2011)
Sean Clinton[4:59]
Israeli Blood Diamonds Campaign
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth[5:24]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth - Prayer for Gaza[2:46]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Benny Morris - Historian or Racist?[34:07]
Activists oppose visit of racist Israeli historian Benny Morris who justifies ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Is Israel applying apartheid?[2:12:56]
Speakers: Yael Kahn, Jody McIntyre and Ghada Karmi (5 May 2011)
Karen Mitchell[48:27]
Partner at Thompsons Solicitors
Life changing visit to Palestine in 2008 (21 Feb 2011)
Ramzy Baroud[1:59:32]
Editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle
"My Father Was A Freedom Fighter - Gaza's Untold Story" (25 Mar 2011)
Women United in the Intifada[2:31:36]
Speakers: Lizzie Cocker, Ewa Jasiewcz, Alaa Kassim, Yvonney Ridley, Isis Amlak, Sukant Chandan, Ramzy Baroud (14 Mar 2011)
George Galloway[1:01:48]
Solidarity with the Middle-East Revolution, support the people - oppose US/UK intervention (SOAS, 11 Mar 2011)
Omar Barghouti[55:08]
BDS Movement co-founder
"Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" book launch (7 Mar 2011)
Shir Hever[1:49:09]
Alternative Information Centre
The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation, Kings College London (17 Feb 2011)
Why academic boycott of Israel[1:29:37]
Speakers: Mohammed Abuabdou(PSCABI), Mike Cushman(BRICUP), Jodey McIntyre(activist) (8 Feb 2011)
Dashed Hopes - Gaza Blockade[1:23:08]
Mohammed-Ali Abu Najela (Oxfam), Andrea Becker (MAP), Ewa Jasiewicz (Free Gaza Movement) (1 Feb 2011)
Jordan Valley: Apartheid[1:17:12]
Sarah Cobham(Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity), Chris Osmond (Corporate Watch) (House of Commons, 1 Feb 2011)
Dump Veolia Demo[7:00]
Protesting at settlement supporter Veolia's sponsership of exhibit at the Natural History Museum (23 Oct 2010)
Boycott Israeli Dates [1/2][9:11]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Boycott Israeli Dates [2/2][9:05]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Lee Jasper [1/2][10:13]
[4 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
Lee Jasper [2/2][9:51]
[5 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
One Oppressor One Bullet[8:11]
Imam Achmad Cassiem, veteran of the armed struggle against apartheid in South Africa, speaks at the StW rally (London, 19 Feb 2005)
Salwa Alenat [1/2][9:56]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[1 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
Salwa Alenat [2/2][8:57]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[2 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
For Anwar [1of2][10:01]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
For Anwar [2of2][9:56]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
[all videos (over 200)..]
Featured MP3 Podcast

"You cannot simplify the question of violence.. You look at human history - the American revolution, the civil war, the end of slavery in the United States, the African National Congress, the end of colonialism - by and large these were some combination of popular social uprisings and social movements and non-violent protests AND armed resistance. Now that doesn't mean I'm advocating for any armed action today, I'm not. I'm committed to finding ways of acting and speaking and making people laugh and doing art and disrupting the war machine in other ways, but I think focusing on violence when we have the comfort of being protected by mass of armed violence is not non-violence at all.. if you are pointing to the mass of violence and who's doing the mass of violence in the world today, you have to look to state violence - that's people bombing whole cities from the air.. "
A founder of the Weather Underground, a revolutionary group that waged war against the US government in the 70s in response to the Vietnam War.
Interview, Radio Neatherlands (TSWI) 30 June 2007 [12min / 6Mb]
[need flash]

[all podcasts..]
To subscribe
enter your email:

If you wish to comment on this page:

(all fields optional)

The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.
The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.