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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Dutch firm withdraws from sewage plant for settlers in East Jerusalem

The Netherlands-based engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV has announced that it has decided to withdraw from a sewage treatment project in eastern occupied Jerusalem.

The firm reviewed its involvement in designing the plant after the Dutch government discouraged it from aiding Israeli settlements and Palestinian organizations fiercely criticized the project. The project is still in its planning stages.

Earlier today, Royal HaskoningDHV released the following statement:

Royal HaskoningDHV carries out its work with the highest regard for integrity and in compliance with international laws and regulations. In the course of the project, and after due consultation with various stakeholders, the company came to understand that future involvement in the project could be in violation of international law.

This has led to the decision of Royal HaskoningDHV to terminate its involvement.

Yesterday, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Shaddad Attili, made clear Palestinian opposition to the construction of an Israeli sewage plant in East Jerusalem. In a statement, Attili noted that while Israel is determined to proceed with a sewage plant to benefit Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, it has refused to approve vital santitation and environmental projects for Palestinians.

According to Attili, thirty sewage projects have been submitted for approval by the Joint Water Committee — a body consisting of Israelis and Palestinians handling water issues in the West Bank — since 1995.  Yet only four of these schemes have been given the go-ahead by Israel.

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