The French corporation Veolia says it has sold the Tovlan garbage dump in the Jordan Valley to the nearby Israeli settlement of Masua. But the company is still involved in the dump as a supervisor and consultant. On its official website, Veolia Australia gives some details of the sale in a comment to the blog Illegal Dumping of Waste:
Veolia / TMM (a local subsidiary of Veolia Environmental Services) sold to Masua Village its entire rights in the Tovlan landfill on June 26, 2011. As a consequence, we are no longer the registered owner of the site. In order to comply with applicable laws as well as the sale agreement, TMM will act as an active supervisor and consultant for a transitory period to ensure the fulfillment of environmental protection standards and applicable law. These services will be provided until Masuaa is capable of independently undertaking all such obligations in full itself. At the end of this transitory period, TMM will be released from any obligations regarding the landfill operation and will no longer have any control whatsoever over the operation of the site.
The Tovlan landfill serves mainly the needs of the Israeli population in Israel and in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Moreover, three Veolia subsidiaries in Israel hold permits to transfer waste from Israel to the Tovlan landfill - including TMM - according to the occupation watchdog, Who Profits.
International law prohibits Israel from using occupied land for the sole benefit of its own civilian population. In Resolution 63/201 of 28 January 2009, the UN General Assembly called on Israel to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials on occupied Palestinian land.
Veolia’s business deal with illegal Israeli settlement
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. Numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the West Bank have confirmed that settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
The Israeli settlement of Masua was founded two years after the June 1967 War in which Israeli military forces occupied all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan and Egyptian Sinai, displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Some 145 settlers live in Masua.
By selling off the Tovlan landfill to Masua, Veolia has entered into a business deal with an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
Veolia staff in Israel confirm the company’s involvement in Tovlan landfill
To get a full understanding of the connection between Veolia and Tovlan, Who Profits — a project of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Tel Aviv — contacted Veolia’s offices in Israel. Veolia staff were willing to provide some information.
Veolia Recycling Services secretary Aviva Pe’er, confirmed twice that the company still operates the site at Tovlan, in a telephone conversation on 22 July. In response to the request for a direct phone number at Tovlan landfill, Pe’er referred to a site manager there. The manager said that “Veolia supplies the operation, but the site belongs to Moshav Masua [Masua settlement].” The manager clarified that the company is responsible for the waste disposal in the site and that no date is foreseen in the near future in which its license from the Ministry of Environment will expire.
Activists of the Derail Veolia campaign should be aware that Veolia’s sale of the Tovlan landfill does not bring an end to the company’s involvement in that dump. Veolia continues not only to operate the landfill, but is also teaching illegal settlers how to do so.