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UN expert's call for North London Waste Authority boycott on Veolia over Israel links 'irresponsible'
A United Nations expert has called on the North London Waste Authority to boycott project bidder Veolia because of its “illegal” operations in Israel.
Veolia is bidding to the NLWA, which is made up of seven local authorities including Barnet, for some of its waste management contracts.
The global environmental services firm has a minority stake in a project alleged to include the building of railway links between Israel and the occupied territories in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
The settlements have been condemned as illegal by the UN and the UK and UN expert on Palestine, Richard Falk, wrote to the authority and other interested parties calling for a boycott on the firm.
Campaigners have previously lobbied Barnet Council on the issue.
Councillor Brian Coleman, a former member of the NLWA board, was disciplined for labelling two campaigners a “disloyal Israeli” and a “Nazi blackshirt” during email exchanges on the subject.
Mr Falk’s calls for a major boycott have been labelled “irresponsible and unacceptable” by the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.
She said: "His recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and indeed poison the environment for peace."
The British government also complained to the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights about Mr Falk’s allegations.
A Veolia spokesman said in a statement: “Veolia Environment has a presence in Israel through its operating local subsidiaries, owned by Veolia Israel. In relation to the occupied territories, there are no current plans to undertake any further activities or to service the Israeli settlements situated there.”
The NLWA said it had taken legal advice and could not exclude any bidder for the reasons outlined by Mr Falk.