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Company targeted by boycott campaign announces losses

Aug. 8, 2011 5:16 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2011 2:18 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A French multinational company at the center of a global boycott campaign announced major financial losses on Thursday, a statement from Palestinian civil society groups said Monday.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targets international companies with links to illegal Israeli settlements.

"Veolia is paying the price for its involvement in Israel’s policies of occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people," said Jamal Jumaa, coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign.

"The company has been losing contracts left, right and center, to the tune of billions of dollars. No matter how large, no corporation can absorb such huge and sustained financial losses."

"This is bound to trigger loud discontent among Veolia's shareholders, eventually leading to a stern demand for an immediate end to the company’s complicity in illegal Israeli projects."

Veolia announced Thursday that it would scale back its operations in several countries after a surprising first-half net loss of €67.2 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It also suffered a set back on Wednesday after a local council in London failed to select the company for a contract which it had previously acquired. The contract would have been worth approximately £300 million over 15 years.

Activists had written to and met with councilors, detailing Veolia’s involvement in the illegal Israeli occupation, Palestinian solidarity groups said.

“Veolia’s loss of this contract, following its failure in a number of significant bids in Britain and internationally, is a clear sign that Veolia is paying a high price for its complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of international law,” Sarah Colborne, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign said in a statement.

Veolia has been a major target of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign due to its involvement with several Israeli projects that violate international law, including the light rail project linking illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory with Jerusalem.

The news of Veolia's financial losses comes shortly after Israeli agricultural exporter Agrexco, another target of the boycott campaign, announced that it faced a bankruptcy hearing in a Tel Aviv court.

Like Veolia, Agrexco managers also attributed their losses to markets and other financial factors, deliberately omitting any mention of the evident impact of the boycott, the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions national committee said.
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