Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

La Plata MEKOROT deal suspended

The agreement with MEKOROT in La Plata has been suspended! Now we continue, in the rest of Argentina…

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign | March 7, 2014

CTA, ATE, Federación de Entidades Argentino-Palestinas (Federation of Argentinian-Palestinian Entities) and Stop the Wall announced the suspension of the shady business with Mekorot, a water treatment plant that would have fuelled Israeli apartheid in Palestine and sought to export it to La Plata in Argentina.

On January 11 2011, the governor of Buenos Aires province, Daniel Scioli, announced, after visiting Israel, that they would tender the building of a regional water treatment plant in La Plata. The contract worth US$170 million was awarded to a consortium of business conformed by the Israeli Water Company MEKOROT, ASHTROM BV (Spanish-Israeli firm) and the Argentinian “5 de Septiembre SA”, a company in which members of the Sindicato de Obras Sanitarias de Buenos Aires (SOSBA), which owns the 10% of the national and provincial Aguas de Buenos Aires (ABSA), participate.

Since 2011, Palestinian organizations, ATE-CTA unions, other civil society organizations and MPs mobilized against this contact. During more than 3 years, they informed the public about Mekorot’s criminal actions in Palestine and investigated the consequences that Mekorot would cause in Argentina.
In a joint effort, they denounced that public Argentinian money would benefit Mekorot and, through this, finance Israeli apartheid in Palestine. The accusations that Mekorot implements apartheid in Palestine are based on reports by Palestinian organizations, the United Nations, and Amnesty International.

Mekorot has been responsible for water right violations and discrimination since the 1950s, when the national water carrier was built which is diverting the Jordan river from the West Bank and Jordan to serve Israeli communities. At the same time, Mekorot deprives the Palestinian communities from access to water. The average consumption in the occupied Palestinian territories is about 70 liters per capita per day – well below the 100 liters per capita per day recommended by the World Health Organization -, while the Israeli consumption per capita per day is around 300 liters. Mekorot has refused to supply water to Palestinian communities inside Israel, despite a decision by the Supreme Court of Israel recognized their right to water. Mekorot is a proud partner of the Jewish National Fund “Blueprint Negev” plan, which will expel 40,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel uprooting them from their homes and forcibly moving them to reserves while their lands will be used for Jewish-only settlements in the Naqab/Negev.

Mekorot’s support for illegal settlements is vital and has continued since 1967 when the company took monopoly control over all water sources in the occupied Palestinian territories and caters to the Jewish settlements to the detriment of Palestinian communities. Mekorot participates in the international crime of pillage of natural resources operating about 42 wells in the West Bank, which mostly cater to Israeli settlements. Mekorot also works closely with the Israeli army in the confiscation of irrigation pipes from Palestinian farmers and destruction of sources of water supply for Palestinian communities.

Beyond the street protests and work in the media, the more than 1000 pages of research and technical details compiled by ATE-CTA, served to substantiate questions in the provincial parliament and allow interventions in front of federal human rights organizations. In late 2012, the construction of Mekorot water plant was suspended.

The organizations insisted that Mekorot intended to export its model of discrimination, squandering of water and illegitimate profits developed in Palestine, now to the detriment of the population of Buenos Aires.

To start with, the entire bid was based on a work plan that had previously been designed by Mekorot, which expectably proposed the lowest price.
The expenditure of public money for water treatment plant and the consequent debt of the city with multinationals is unnecessary as the province of Buenos Aires has excellent aquifers. Puelches Aquifer is saturated and to stop drinking its water – as the Mekorot project envisaged – would have produced the elevation of the water table, bacterial contamination, basement flooding and damage to housing foundations. Reports from the ABSA state that the main problem of drinking water lies in the distribution network for which Mekorot wouldn’t have provided a solution.

For the installation in the region, Mekorot required an increase in water tariffs, until almost tripling the costs. The construction of the plant, also implied a further increase of service that would have exceeded 30% and would be paid by all the users in the region.

In terms of water quality, it would have been below the standards determined by the Argentine Food Code. Only part of the population would have had access to safe drinking water while poorer people would have received only tap water posing a risk to their health.

CTA, ATE, Federación de las Entidades Argentina-Palestinos and Stop the Wall thank to all social and political organizations, experts and individuals who contributed to the campaign ‘Mekorot Out of Argentina’. Together we won an important victory for justice in Palestine and the right to water! We continue to fight for our sovereignty over water, against the violence of multinationals and in solidarity with the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and the return of refugees to their homes.

We ask everyone to continue supporting the global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and to fight and prevent other Mekorot contracts in Argentina.

We ask everyone to join the International Week against Mekorot – from 22 to 30 March: “No to water apartheid, Yes for water justice!”

March 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch water company ends partnership with Israeli firm

Al-Akhbar | December 11, 2013

Dutch water supplier Vitens has ended a partnership with Israeli water company Mekorot due to the “political context,” the Dutch company said on Wednesday.

The abrupt decision comes days after a visit to the Mekorot offices in Occupied Palestine by the Netherland’s trade minister Lilianne Ploumen was abruptly cancelled.

In a statement, Vitens said it had come to the conclusion that it was “extremely hard” to work with Mekorot on future projects “because they cannot be taken out of the political context.”

The company visit was part of a larger tour of Occupied Palestine by Prime Minister Mark Rutte that was marred by a dispute over a Dutch-made security scanner on the Gaza border.

Rutte was to have inaugurated the scanner on the frontier with the Gaza Strip, but the ceremony was broken off.

The focus of the dispute is trade between Gaza and the West Bank, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority under president Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel’s defense ministry wants to isolate the two Palestinian regions, while Dutch officials had hoped the scanner might boost commerce between them.

Mekorot, which provides water to Israeli towns and to Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, has been accused by Dutch media of denying water access to Palestinians.

According to the World Bank, a third of Palestinian territories are cut off from the Israeli water system and Israelis draw out a far bigger share of the water supply than agreed in the 1995 Oslo II accord.

Israeli deputy Foreign minister Zeev Elkin said he was “blindsided” by the pullout “and a few more European companies have made similar decisions in the past months, which have blindsided us exactly in parallel with the peace process.”

In talks last week, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a historic water-sharing initiative at the World Bank that could protect water resources in the region amid rising demand.

The deal will see Israel, working through Mekorot, boosting its annual sales of water to the Palestinian Authority by 20-30 million cubic meters a year, up from the current level of 52 million cubic meters.

Zeev, speaking to Israeli military radio, said that peace initiatives should mean “that people don’t breathe down our neck,” but “unfortunately this doesn’t work.”

Vitens said the decision to end the Mekorot tie-up was made after conferring with the Dutch foreign ministry and other “concerned parties.”

The news comes a day after Romania reportedly refused to allow Romanian construction workers to be employed in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

The row comes in the wake of tensions between Israel and the European Union over new guidelines that bar EU funding for any Israeli entity operating in the internationally recognized occupied Palestinian territories.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

December 11, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Arad: Supplying water meters to Sussex while helping bleed Palestine dry

Corporate Watch | February 8, 2013

An Israeli company which supplies water infrastructure in Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank is gaining contracts to supply equipment to water companies in the UK. Israeli company Arad has gained a contract to provide Southern Water with £7.1 million worth of water meters annually for five years with the option to extend when the contract expires. The contract was signed in February 2010 and the meters are currently being installed. Arad is also providing pressure sensors to the Welsh water utility.

Arad has installed 3,200 water meters in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel and the Barkan settlement industrial zone. The water system is managed by the Mei Ariel Water Corporation.

Arad also develops water meters for the Israeli state owned company Mekorot. Mekorot has a near monopoly on water supply in Israel and also operates and develops water infrastructure in Area C of the West Bank, where Palestinians are forbidden to develop even basic water infrastructure.

Palestinians living in Area C, unable to access piped water due to the restrictions on building imposed by the Israeli Civil Administration, are often forced to fill up water tanks, transported by tractor, at Mekorot’s water facilities. These fenced water facilities are often situated beside Palestinian communities and draw water from occupied Palestinian territory.

Water is also used as a tool in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities. Water is denied to these communities as a way to push them off the land on which they live and into urban centers so that their land can be expropriated by the settlements. For example Bedouin man from Khan Al Ahmar, where the entire community is currently under threat of home demolitions and relocation, told Corporate Watch, back in 2009, that he had to to drive a mobile water tank by tractor to Jericho and pay to have it filled up with water from Mekorot. This journey takes between half an hour and an hour. Despite the fact that the nearby settlement has several large water tanks, surrounded by strong fencing, the tents which the Bedouin live in have no access to running water and they are not allowed to use the water located right next to them. Corporate Watch visited Khan Al Ahmar in 2013 and this situation had not changed.

Arad has been awarded contracts in the US , Brazil and Canada and boasts that it has a large slice of the Spanish water ‘market’. However, the company is focussing its efforts on the UK. Arad’s website states that “The UK was targeted by Arad years ago as the preferred market for implementing its products and services including water management systems.” Arad’s efforts are being facilitated by the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce which named Arad Israeli company of the year in 2010.

The award of these contracts by Southern Water to a company which supplies water infrastructure in illegal settlements should never have occurred. It is of utmost importance that the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid, colonisation and militarism halts the expansion of this company which is profiting from one of the most fundamental facets of Israeli apartheid.

A first step towards this would be for people in Sussex to resist the introduction of Arad’s water meters in homes across the county.

Arad (www.arad.co.il) is listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Arad’s listed addresses are:

ARAD Technologies Ltd.
HaCarmel 6, Industrial Area
Yokneam 20692
Israel
Tel:         972-4-9935222
Fax:        972-4-9935227
www.aradtec.com

Master Meter Inc.
101 Regency Parkway
Mansfield, TX 76063
USA
Tel:         817-842-8000
Fax:        817-842-8100
E-mail:info@mastermeter.com
www.mastermeter.com

Contazara S.A.
Ctra. Castellón A-68, km 5.5
50720 Zaragoza
Spain
Tel:   976-50-06-91
Fax:   976-50-06-54
www.contazara.es

Southern Water can be contacted here

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Arad: Supplying water meters to Sussex while helping bleed Palestine dry