Veolia, the French multinational firm building the light rail in Jerusalem, recently lost two important bids in France and Scotland after the protests of solidarity organizations.
In Scotland, Veolia was bidding for a contract to provide trash collection and street cleaning in Edinburgh, where the city is privatizing public services. During the selection process, however, the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign protested against the company and likely influenced the city councilâs decision to reject Veoliaâs offer.
A similar story played out in Lille, France where Veolia was competing against another transportation firm to operate the metro, bus and tramlines in the city and faced opposition from the Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS). A Veolia spokesperson denied that AFPS objections and the Jerusalem rail played any role in the loss of this contract, but did admit that AFPS has damaged the image of Veolia.
AFPS has long been pressuring Veolia and Alstom to pull out of the Jerusalem rail project, and in Febraury 2007 launched a court case in an effort to annul the contract signed by between the two companies and the Israeli government.
Despite the companyâs claims to the contrary, it seems as though the ongoing pressure against Veolia has been successful. At the end of Novemeber, media reports revealed that Veolia and Alstom dropped out of the Jerusalem rail project. Veolia especially has paid a high price for its continued involvement in the project, and according to reports Veolia communicated to Dan, the Israeli company that will take over the project, that the company was disengaging from light rail project because of increasing BDS campaigns.