Ireland report back (part I)

Derail Israeli Apartheid: Report of IPSC Boycott & Divestment Action targeting Veolia

On Saturday 27th March 2010 the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in Dublin staged the latest in a series of actions aimed at highlighting French multinational (and operator of the LUAS) Veolia’s complicity in Israel’s Apartheid regime. Between 1pm and 3pm, forty IPSC members and supporters took over the St. Stephen’s Green LUAS stop, decking the area in Palestinian flags, balloons and placards and distributing thousands of information leaflets to LUAS passengers.

The response form the public was overwhelmingly positive and many people were visibly shocked when they found out that Veolia is involved in the Israeli settler-only Jerusalem Light Rail and other illegal projects (such as the Tovlan landfill dump) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The aim of the IPSC protest was twofold. The first aim was simply raising awareness around the issue of Veolia’s role in entrenching Apartheid in Palestine. The second was to build support for the anti-Veolia motion coming before Dublin City Council on Monday April 12th. Our leaflets asked people to contact their local councillors and lobby in favour of the Motion proposed by Cllr. Joan Collins of the People Before Profit Alliance.

The text of the motion is as follows:

Dublin City Council recognising

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 any new or renew any existing contracts with Veolia as it would be in contravention of the wishes of this council. Galway and Sligo city/county councils have supported similar motions.

Speaking at the event, IPSC Chairperson Dr. David Landy told people that: “If passed, this motion would be a monumental victory for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, it would add to the string of defeats Veolia has faced internationally (Sweden, France, Iran, Australia and Holland – as well as in Sligo and Galway) in the past few years resulting from their operations in illegally occupied Palestine. It would represent a European capital city saying No to complicity with Israeli Apartheid, and will put further pressure on Veolia to cease their operations in occupied Palestine.”

Dr. Landy continued: “It is vitally important that supporters of the BDS movement in the Dublin City Council zone contact their local councillors and ask them to vote in favour of the motion on April 12. It will only take a few minutes to send them an email or to give them a quick call.”

Note:A model letter and contact details for councillors can be found here: http://www.ipsc.ie/veolia

He finished by thanking all those who took part in the action, and by reading a statement by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) urging Dublin city councillors to vote yes to the motion and asking the City Manager to support its timely implementation should it prove successful.

The IPSC will be staging further actions in support of this Motion in the run up to the vote. Our next action will be on Palestinian Land Day, Tuesday 30th March, when between 5pm and 7pm we will be holding a solidarity vigil at the GPO on O’Connell Street, and distributing more information leaflets to the residents of Dublin.

(I personally would also like to thank everyone who came along and handed out leaflets, talked to people, held banners and placards, tied balloons and all the rest on the day – and I hope to see lots of you on Tuesday evening on O’Connell St)

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