B Vacy Vlazna
The Parisian sewer system is famous. Victor Hugo described it as such: ‘Paris has another Paris under herself; a Paris of sewers; which has its streets, its crossings, its squares, its blind alleys, its arteries, and its circulation, which is slime, minus the human form.’
Israel too has a sewer system that is spread internationally… a system of interconnected corporations in the USA, Australia, Canada, and Europe with subterranean links to Israel’s Leviathan- ‘slime minus the human form’ – the savage Zionist illegal occupation of Palestine.
Just as Paris offers tours of its sewers, let us descend into the visceral underground (Here, no more false appearance, no possible plastering, the filth takes off its shirt, absolute nakedness, rout of illusions and of mirages, nothing more but what it is . . . The last veil is rent. A sewer is a cynic. It tells all. Hugo) of corporate interconnections to Israel and its military that violate international law which declares ‘occupation must only be temporary; the Israeli settlements [colonial cities] are in direct violation of this principle’… For instance, the colonial cities on Palestine land with their 500,000 illegal colonizers, ‘violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupier from transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies. Additionally, according to Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, the occupying power’s role is to safeguard occupied properties and maintain the status quo.’(Global Exchange) There is also the UN Global Compact, Principle Two “Businesses should make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”
Though this short tour focuses mainly on a handful (the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, BDS, list is long) of multibillion/million dollar multinationals that stink of the sewer with Australian connections, like the hologram, when you cut off pieces, those fragments contain whole views of the entire holographic image. The Israeli occupation may be 14,000 ks away from Australia, yet is insidiously close.
The French company, Veolia has waste management, transport and water interests in all Australian states approved by Australia’s pro-Zionist state and federal governments – even though Oslo University has divested from Veolia, even though, under BDS pressure, Veolia withdrew from a huge waste-treatment contract in London and in spite of Richard Falk’s, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestinian Territories, judgment, “It is my view that Veolia’s violations of the UN Global Compact principles and its deep and protracted complicity with grave breaches of international law make it an inappropriate partner for any public institution, especially as a provider of public services.”
Australian activists are launching a BDS campaign against Veolia which blatantly violates international law by servicing the illegal colonial cities: ‘Veolia operates bus lines 422, 425, and 427 that run through occupied Palestine, connecting illegal colonial cities to Israel. Additionally, lines 422 and 425 use road 443, which is an apartheid road that has been built partially upon confiscated land. Although the Israeli High Court ruled that this road must be re-opened for Palestinian use, it has not been fully implemented and various checkpoints and restrictions greatly limit Palestinian use.’
‘Three Veolia subsidiaries in Israel hold permits to transfer waste from Israel to the Tovlan landfill on occupied land in the Jordan Valley though 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.’ (Global Exchange)
Veolia operates the Ayalon wastewater treatment plant located in a colonial settlement bloc, Modlin Ilit and was involved in the construction of the Israeli-only Light Rail Project.
Veolia and Visy
Veolia Australia provides the technology for the Visy Water Treatment Plant in NSW. Visy Industries is a billion dollar packaging and recycling empire owned by Anthony Pratt. The Pratts have long-feted Australian political leaders.
The Pratt Foundation supports an array of charitable programs in Israel and the funds for some are channeled to the Jewish Agency, established by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1929, which is in charge of immigration and absorption of diaspora Jews in Israel who are mainly housed in the illegal colonies. Its subsidiary, Hermanuta works closely with Elad, the right-wing hardline colonist organization and militia that advocates illegal Jewish colonial settlement in Palestinian East Jerusalem acquiring Palestinian properties often through threats, false depositions, forged documents, posthumous witness signatures and militant house takeovers.
The Pratt Foundation also funded The Park of the Australian Soldier in Beersheba in an act of normalizing Israel’s occupation by hijacking Australian history and heroism. The Park of the Australian Soldier is included in ‘The Anzac Trail from the Be’eri Badlands to Be’er Sheva’ which is a project of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in historic Palestine for Jewish settlement with the proviso only Jews can purchase JNF land. All Jews have the right of return to Israel. Palestinian refugees, however, are refused the right of return by Israel.
Visy and ING
Visy Industries has outsourced its superannuation arrangements, worth around $A200 million, to ING Australia. ING s a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services. In March 2005, ING announced that it was withdrawing from a number of controversial weapon systems: anti-personnel mines, biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions, nuclear weapons and depleted uranium weapons however, in December 2011, the investment portfolio for ING DIRECT Streetwise Equity Growth Fund listed US arms manufacturer Raytheon (linked to Israel), Groupe Danone (along with Max Brenner) which is a Strauss subsidiary that supports Israel’s vicious Golani and Givati brigades involved in war crimes against Palestinians, and the French Carrefour retail chain which sells illegal products from Israeli colonial settlements.
Veolia and G4s
In October 2011, G4S Utility Services, one of the UK’s largest national providers of metering and field services, was awarded a 5 year contract with Veolia Environmental Services to install 300 Smart electricity meters and 62 gas data loggers across the UK.
‘G4S is a British-Danish security firm that has a contract to provide equipment and services to Israeli prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners, are detained and mistreated. The transfer of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank to prisons in Israel violates of articles 76, 66 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, G4S is complicit in this violation.
G4S also provides equipment and services to checkpoints, illegal colonial cities and businesses in settlements. The Israeli government confirmed that G4S also provides equipment to Israel’s illegal apartheid wall.’ (EI)
March 2012 saw G4S enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology to share the research findings with Port Phillip Prison in Victoria. A collaborator in Swinburne University’s Energy research is Israel’s Technion University:
‘Technion, like all Israeli academic institutions, is deeply complicit with Israel’s military, providing it with the technological infrastructure to maintain and expand its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land….One of their most notorious projects led to the creation of “a remote-controlled ‘D9’ bulldozer used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian houses and the development of a method for detecting underground tunnels, specifically developed in order to assist the Israeli army in its continued siege on the Gaza Strip.”
Technion’s partnership with Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturers, has played a leading role in the construction and surveillance of the Apartheid Wall in Palestine… Technion’s deep relationship with the Israeli military also includes work with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, one of Israel’s largest government-sponsored weapons manufacturers famous for its “advanced hybrid armor protection system” used in Israel’s Merkava tanks. (USCACBI Open Letter to Cornell University)
G4S and Verint
Persay Ltd’s VocalPassword is utilized as part of G4S suite of worldwide electric monitoring services. Persay is a spin-off of the Israeli Verint Systems. Crikey reported ‘Verint, officially based in the US, is a major supplier of surveillance equipment in the US and also provides surveillance equipment to CityRail in Sydney.
Verint has also partnered with Australian company NSC to win a Defence Department contract for call center monitoring. Verint, which is mostly owned by Israeli firm Comverse, a company with close links to the Israeli defence and intelligence establishment. Comverse has long been under suspicion in the US for having an unauthorized back door into the US government’s own phone interception system — so much so that even the pro-Israel Fox News ran a story on it in 2001, after the US government had banned overseas companies from providing telephone surveillance equipment.’ (Crikey 10-1-12)
Against the tide of this billion dollar effluence, how do Palestinians, ghettoed in their homeland, defend their political and human rights?
They have no army, no airforce, no navy, no nuclear weaponry, no drones, as does the occupier, Israel (The ghettoed Jews of Europe helpless against the might of Nazi military comes to mind).
Palestinians, abandoned by the stench infused USA, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, have no powerful allies (The abandoned Jews of WWII come to mind).
‘The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi’s solution to remove the slime of the sewer is enlightened anarchy – Ramaraj, the sovereignty of the people based on pure moral authority.
Gazan poet and activist, Samah Sabawi asserts, ‘If Gandhi was to visit the West Bank and Gaza Strip today, I am sure he would agree that truth and non-violence in Palestine are indeed as old as the Palestinian hills. . . For generations, Palestinians have adopted in their daily lives a culture of non-violent “Sumud”, an Arabic word that means to be “steadfast” and to “persevere”. Through Sumud, Palestinians have been able to protect their identity and to refuse not to exist.’
Sumud is the invincible Palestinian rock that will bring down the Zionist Leviathan.
And.. the Palestinians have us.
It is up to us, the people, Palestine’s friends, to stand alongside them, to pick up the rocks of sumud and BDS, and to take upon ourselves the obligations of international law that world political and corporate leaders, corrupted by the sewer, have criminally failed to uphold.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.