Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Monday, 30 December 2013

Public Meeting on 'Gaza - 5 years' on and Anniversary demonstration

Brent Stop the War Meeting - "Gaza - 5 years after the invasion, an eyewitness report" 

Monday 13th January - 7.30pm, Rumi's Cave, Willesden Lane, NW6 7ST
Speaker Hamdi Joudeh, from Gaza and currently President of Imperial College Student Palestine Society

We are delighted that Hamdi Joudeh from Gaza will be the speaker at our next meeting. Hamdi is currently a Ph.D. student at Imperial College and President of the Student Palestine Society there.  Hamdi grew up in Gaza and was there during the 2008-2009 invasion by Israel.  He has been back to Gaza 3 times (most recently in April this year) since coming to England so will be able to give an eyewitness report of the situation there and how it has deteriorated during the past 5 years

Saturday 18th January - 12 - 2pm protest outside the Israeli Embassy
This is the 5th anniversary of the end of the 2008/9 war on Gaza. Show the people of Palestine we will never forget.

Bethlehem Unwrapped Festival and Gaza anniversary letter

On 23rd of December 2013, Bethlehem Unwrapped festival opened with the  unveiling of a 8m high life size replica of the separation wall that has been built by Israel in the West Bank. It has been constructed over 8
days in the church yard of St James' near Piccadilly Circus in central  London in a bid to bring some reality of what it is like to live in  Bethlehem in 2013.

The Church address is at : St James' Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL. ( It's near Fortnum and Masons on Piccadilly) for the map  location copy and paste the following link in your browser:


The full programme of concerts, talks, events can be accessed HERE

The following letter was published in the Guardian on December 27th 2013
'Today marks five years since the  Israeli military launched a series of missile and ground attacks on Gaza, which Israel named ‘Operation Cast Lead’. According to the UN,  1,383 Palestinians died as a result. These fatalities include 333 children.

And what of the survivors? For the  1.7 million living in the tiny Gaza Strip, life has become increasingly  desperate due to Israel’s ongoing blockade, backed by Egypt, and with no effective challenge from governments around the world. The blockade has brought electricity cuts of 16 hours a day, which means the only street lights visible to people at night have been those from  Israel’s nearby  towns. The electricity shortages have severely affected almost all
essential services,  including health, water, sanitation and schooling. With waste plants not operating as a result, Palestinian children have been wading through freezing sewage to attend school.

The terrible floods in Gaza brought  the promise of increased electricity supplies for a few weeks, but the  international community must demand the electricity supply is constant  and permanent.

This blockade has also resulted in  unacceptable limits on personal freedom. Most Palestinians are prevented  from travelling outside Gaza, an area of 139 sq miles: about the same size, but much more densely populated, as Newcastle.

It is deplorable for us to allow  this on-going collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza. We  urge the UK government to take immediate action to bring about an end to the blockade on Gaza.'

Baroness Blackstone

Peter Bottomley MP

Richard Burden MP

Martin Caton MP

Katy Clark MP

Michael Connarty MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Alex Cunningham MP

Lord Dubs

Mark Durkan MP

Lord Dykes

John Hemming MP

Julian Huppert MP

Lord Hylton

Hugh Lanning, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Lord Judd

Caroline Lucas MP

Sir Gerald Kaufman MP

George Mudie MP

Grahame Morris MP

Sandra Osborne MP

Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Rt Hon Dame Joan Ruddock MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Baroness Tonge

Yasmin Qureshi MP

David Ward MP

Mike Weir MP

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

It's simple: my taxes should not go to a war profiteer like Veolia

Presentation by Dan Judelson of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and a Labour Party member to Brent Executive 14 October 2013.

Collecting waste is one of the most basic, fundamental responsibilities of a council. Ask someone what they want in terms of local services and chances are high that they will begin any such list with “empty my bins.”
Over the last three and a half decades, there has been an enormous change in the delivery of these services and a particular upshot of that is that a waste collection contract may now be part of a lucrative business.
So it is entirely understandable that Brent residents should ask questions about where council money is being spent. One of the bidders – the remaining bidder – for this public realm contract is part of a company that derives income directly form illegal activity.

I do not want to rehash in detail all of the arguments about how this happens; I know councillors and executive members will already be aware of much of this thanks to the debate over the past few months. Yet it is worth reminding ourselves of the basics of what happens at the Tovlan landfill site, operated by Veolia, in the Jordan Valley.

It handles waste from illegal Israeli settlements on land that would form part of the putative Palestinian state. Not a pennyworth of licence fee is paid by Veolia to the Palestinian authority for this privilege. In the meantime, Israeli institutions from the government to the Army to local settlers are actively trying to take over and control the Jordan Valley.

The government of Israel financially promotes illegal settlement in the Jordan Valley. According to the Israeli NGO B’tselem ,”the average grant per capita to Israeli settlers in the West bank [has been] approximately 57% higher than the average expenditure per capita for Israeli citizens inside Israel.”

Furthermore, the head of the Jordan Valleys settlers group has stated explicitly that “Approving the programme [of expansion] will change the face of the Jordan Valley beyond recognition – beyond recognition – and attract returning sons and families from outside to come to the region. Although a political cloud – an interesting euphemism – hangs over the region, this is the way to attract residents. (Italics mark my emphasis.)

So it is crucial to recognise that we are not talking about some abstract or vague connection with illegal activity. Operation of the Tovlan site contributes directly to sustaining illegal settlements and their expansion in the Jordan Valley, something that has been acknowledged as illegal by governments around the world – including that of Israel – since at least 1968.

These are issues that have been raised during the campaign but I raise them now because they leave a number of questions unanswered.
  1. We have heard that Brent Council Procurement and Legal Services have been determined to exclude such political factors from the bidding process on the basis of a legal opinion but we have heard also that this advice has been embargoed. Brent Council has to explain, why the exclusion, why the embargo?
  1. We have heard, too, about the potential for legal action from Veolia should they be excluded from the bidding process. Yet they have been excluded or have not been awarded contracts in the West Midlands, in Ealing, Richmond and East Sussex. They have been denied business in Dublin. Utrecht and The Hague – not to mention, far closer to home, the North and the West London Waste Authorities. I would like to know if Brent Council consulted with any of these bodies to try ad establish the ground on which these contracts were not awarded or the bidder excluded from the tendering process.
  1. Current EU guidelines state that the EU will not enter into any contract or relationship with a company or organisation that operates in the illegally occupied West Bank. This is sure to affect EU law across the 27 states over the duration of the public realm contract being discussed here tonight. Has this factor been considered by the council executive?
  1. Given what we know about Veolia’s operations in the West Bank, what consideration has been given to attaching conditions or riders to this very long contract, offering Veolia an opportunity to divest itself of the illegal operations we have heard about tonight.
Councillors, there are members of the Green Party, the Labour Party, of Stop the War, of Brent PSC and I myself am a signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. But we are here tonight to decide the best course of action for Brent residents no matter what their political allegiance of campaign affiliation.

Hello. My name is Dan Judelson. I have lived in Algernon Road, Kilburn for the past 15 years and as a Brent resident and council-tax payer, I object most strenuously to my taxes going to fill the coffers of a war profiteer like Veolia. It’s as simple as that.

Brent awards £142.3m contract to Veolia amid protests

Labour Brent Council's Executive last night approved the awarding of the £142.3m Public Realm contract to Veolia despite representations calling for the company to be removed from the procurement process because if its alleged grave misconduct in servicing illegal Israel settlements in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

 The Executive was addressed by Dan Judelson of Brent Jews for Justice for Palestinians,  Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, and Martin Francis, Chair of Brent and Harrow PSC..

Executive members argued, to varying degrees, that they cared about human rights and the plight of the Palestinians, but that they had no option, for legal reasons and to get the best deal for Brent council tax payers, to award the contract to Veolia. Cllr Jim Moher, rolled out on these occasions as the Executive's blunderbus, accused Martin Francis and Paul Lorber of attempting to wreck the contract with an eye on gaining electoral advantage next year. He said that people like you, trying to occupy the high moral ground, may be concerned about human rights but the man in the street cared about his bins being emptied.

Muhammed Butt summing up said there was no greater advocate than him of the Palestinian cause but that the Council had to act legally and could not risk Veolia taking legal action against them for not following procedures. He added that faced with huge cuts in central government funding the savings the new contract involved was the most important issue.

Fiona Ledden, answering a challenge about lack of transparency in not informing  the campaign and the public of the legal advice she had received regarding  Bin Veolia in Brent's allegation said that she was constrained because it would be irresponsible to share legal advice with the public as it was privileged. It had been shared with members of the Executive behind closed doors. If the advice had been made public it could have been used by other parties in a Judicial Review. She said that she had received clear legal advice that Veolia UK was a separate company from that operating in Israel/Palestine and that in her communications with other local authorities she could find no case of Veolia being excluded from a contract.

This is the speech Martin Francis made to the Executive:
When Muhammed Butt took over from Ann John as council leader he recognised, in the light of the library closures issue, the need to communicate with residents better and engage with them –
                                         be a ‘listening council’

Following his disagreement with Gareth Daniel  (former Chief Executive) he recognised the need to rebalance the power relationship between officers and elected members

                                   he wanted to move from ‘managerialism’ to              

                                        political leadership.

The public realm contract issue leads us to ask:

                                what happened to these intentions?

Veolia’s activities in the occupied territories of Israel are a moral and human rights issue, as well as a ‘political one’ just as British companies’ collusion with the Apartheid regime in South Africa was for the Brent Labour administration in the 1980s.

But from the beginning we were handed over to officers to discuss the issue – not elected members.

These officers were about as transparent as a lump of lead.

We gave officers detailed legal evidence on Veolia’s grave misconduct in the occupied territories – the procurement panel decided there were no grounds for exclusion of Veolia but gave no reasons why or how they had reached that decision.

We and our human rights lawyer met Fiona Ledden (Head of Procurement) to ask what legal advice they had received so that we could respond – they refused to tell us what the advice was and its source. We were put in the Kafkaesque situation of attempting to respond to evidence we couldn’t see. Our lawyer warned Fiona Ledden that this refusal could be used to press for a judicial review.

We asked if our allegations had been put to Veolia, they said no.

Surely any fair process would do that and should have in terms of protecting the council’s reputation.

When Veolia did write to the council, apparently of their own volition, they claimed to have sold the Tovlan landfill site. We submitted evidence that this was untrue.  No reaction from officers to being deliberately misled by a bidder.

When Enterprise asked for extra time to put in their final bid they were refused. The council’s reason for refusal of extra time are almost the same, and as unenlightening, as the refusal to exercise their discretion to exclude Veolia –

‘because that’s what we have decided.’

So no comeback for Veolia for giving misleading information to the council but instead officers’ action leaving Veolia as the only bidder.

If the officers refused to engage with us, what about the elected members of the executive?

Our petition with more than 2,000 signatures was presented to the executive. There was no response from the Executive member leading on the environment. It was referred to Fiona Ledden, head of procurement for consideration.  The same Fiona Ledden who had been stonewalling us.

A request to Cllr butt and Fiona Ledden for the outcome of that consideration was requested some time ago but only answered on Thursday. This merely said the council did not intent to revisit the decision not to exclude Veolia made on January 31st

                                          in other words ‘we are ignoring your petition’

Our supporters made presentations on the issue to various Brent Connects forums. The notes say their comments would be referred to Cllr Roxanne Mashari as lead member for environment.  They have heard no more.

Liz Lindsay, Secretary of Brent and Harrow PSC has received no response to a request sent to Cllr Mashari in June, to meet with her and Brent members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians regarding the contract.

The officers’ report you are considering this evening makes absolutely no reference to any of these representations. If we had not made them public and written to councillors you will have had no idea that this is a controversial issue.

           Transparency? Accountability? Participation?

The GCs of both Hampstead and Kilburn and Brent Central Labour parties, Brent TUC and Brent members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians have supported our case.  We have been supported by several of the candidates for the Brent Central parliamentary nomination. Brent Lib Dems were ruled out of order when they tried to put a question about Veolia at full council.

I know that some members of the Executive have misgivings on the issue. Cllr Mashari herself, reporting on a visit to Israel/Palestine with the Young Fabians, paid for by BICOM (set up to ‘create a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain) said that the one issue she was repeatedly told should be addressed to bring peace was that of illegal Israeli settlements.

Apart from all of the above can the council truly save that they are sure of ‘best value’ for Brent residents in a process that led, at the final hurdle, to Veolia having no competitor for the Executive to consider.

 In Q1 of 2013-14 there was a failure to reach targets for reduction in residual waste and increased recycling at a cost of £226,000 with Veolia the current contractor.

We suggest the Executive:

1.     Extend the current contract for a year

2.     Start a new procurement process with robust ethical conditions attached

3.     Consider separating the parks/ground maintenance services from that contract to allow waste specialist companies to bid.

4.     Consider supporting an in-house bid for the parks/grounds maintenance contract

Saturday, 12 October 2013

We need your support on Monday October 14th


Brent Council Executive will be deciding whether to award the Public Realm contract to Veolia at their meeting this Monday October 14th 7pm Brent Civic Centre.
Veolia is the only company left in the bidding process and officers are recommending that they be given the contract. This follows the officers’ decision not to allow Enterprise, the other bidder, additional time to formulate their bid.

We will be arguing in a speech to the Executive that they should reject the officers’ recommendation and instead extend the current contract for one year and then open up a new procurement process.

The new procurement process should include strong ethical conditions and the Council should consider separating the parks maintenance from the waste element. This would encourage companies that specialise in waste and recycling only to make bids and allow for an in-house bid for parks maintenance.



Sunday, 6 October 2013

Why Veolia should NOT be awarded the Brent Public Realm contract

Letter to Brent councillors  from Martin Francis, Chair of Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

On October 14th the Brent Executive will be deciding whether to accept an officers’ recommendation to award the Public Realm Contract (waste collection, recycling, street sweeping, fly tipping, parks maintenance, grounds maintenance for BHP, burials, gritting) to Veolia. http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s19639/en-public-realm.pdf

I am writing to you to set out the reasons why I think you should use your influence to persuade the Brent Executive NOT to award the contract to Veolia.


Veolia was the only one of the final three bidders left after one company withdrew because of internal reorganisation and resource issues (SERCO) and another (ENTERPRISE) after officers refused them extra time to prepare their bid.

It is clearly legitimate to ask if ‘Best Value’ has been obtained when such a large contract is awarded with no competitive bid to evaluate it against. It is also legitimate to ask why Enterprise was not granted more time. (Enterprise has now been taken over by Amey)

Although Veolia promise improved performance they have failed to meet recent recycling and residual waste targets costing the Council £226,000. http://www.wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/brent-recycling-and-library-visit-rates.html


Brent and Harrow Palestine Campaign and Bin Veolia in Brent have called for Brent Council to exclude Veolia from the contract because of its activities in the Occupied Territory of Palestine which provide infrastructure supporting the illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The campaign write to the panel giving detailed information on the background to Veolia’s activities and legal opinion on the case for exclusion. We asked to meet with the panel to present our concerns and answer any questions but were refused. The West London Waste Authority had granted such a meeting during their procurement process. That meeting took place in a cooperative and amicable atmosphere.

The Brent panel decided that there were no grounds for excluding Veolia but would not give their reasons. Muhammed Butt arranged for a group of campaigners and our legal representative to meet with Fiona Ledden (Head of Legal and Procurement) about the issues we had raised. She listened but would not elaborate on the reasons for the panel’s decision. Our legal representative, Daniel Machover, responded that this left us trying to address issues that the Council would not reveal. We were left with trying to guess what their legal advice had been. He pointed out that this might leave the Council vulnerable to a Judicial Review.

Fiona Ledden said that she was determined that the procurement decision would be made on legal grounds and not political grounds.

Further correspondence and Freedom of Information requests failed to elicit any information on the content of the Council’s legal advice, although ours had always been made public.

We did establish that Veolia had never been questioned by the panel, or asked to provide additional information, on the evidence that we had presented about their grave misconduct.


Despite not questioning Veolia, eventually the Council received an unsolicited letter, apparently out of the blue, from Veolia attempting to refute claims made against them.

We were able to provide evidence that Veolia’s letter was misleading and inaccurate but again this made no impact on the panel. Our requests for details of the further legal opinion received by the Council was again refused.

Our campaign has been supported in motions passed by the Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party General Committee, the Brent Central Labour Party General Committee, Brent Trade Union Council and by Brent members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

We presented a petition with more than 2,000 signatures to the August 19th Executive. Rather than this being addressed by the lead member for the environment Cllr Mashari Roxanne, it was referred to Fiona Ledden, head of procurement, the officer who had been refusing us information.

We have received no response from either Muhammed Butt or Fiona Ledden to our request for the result of that referral. It appears that the petition has been put on the back burner.

I do not think that any Brent councillor can claim that the above process and officer’s response was open and transparent. Indeed it appears that residents’ legitimate concerns have been ignored and dismissed.

On all of the above grounds we ask that you urge the members of the Brent Executive to vote against the officers’ recommendation.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Francis
Chair, Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Human Rights abuser Veolia must not get Brent Council taxpapers' money

Usually well informed Brent Council sources say the the Brent Council Executive on October 14th will be recommended by officers to award the new multi-million Public Realm contract to the controversial French multi-national Veolia.

The contract covers waste collection, recycling, street sweeping, parks maintenance, cemeteries maintenance and grounds maintenance for Brent Housing Partnership estates.

The Bin Veolia in Brent Campaign has called on the Council to exclude Veolia from the lucrative contract on the grounds of its grave misconduct. The allegations relate to Veolia's operations in the occupied territories of Palestine where it helps maintain the infrastructure for illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.

Bin Veolia in Brent argue that Brent council tax payers' money should not be used to enrich a company involved in the undermining of Palestinian human rights. Brent Council, representing a diverse population and committed to social justice, should ensure that it only awards contracts to ethical companies - just as pension fund investments are subject to an ethical test..

The Bin Veolia campaign's argument was backed by the General Committees of both the Brent Central and Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Parties, many individual Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green party members as well as Brent Trade Union Council and Brent members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition calling for the exclusion of Veolia from the contract. There were speakers supporting exclusion at many of the last round of Brent Connects forums. Their comments were referred to Cllr Roxanne Mashari but the petition was referred to Fiona Ledden, head of legal and procurement and no response has been forthcoming.

Throughout the process Bin Veolia in Brent and Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign have published their legal advice on the issue. For their part Brent Council officers have been obstructive and despite Freedom of Information requests have refused to publish the  legal advice  they have obtained.  This made it impossible for the campaigns to answer legal points taken on board by the council. It is likely that the council's failure to be transparent and answer genuine questions from residents could be grounds for a judicial review.

An attempt by Liberal Democrat councillors to raise the issue at a full council meeting was ruled out of order on the advice of officers.

A spokesperson for the Bin Veolia in Brent campaign said:
If the sources are correct then Brent councillors on the Executive need to seriously consider rejecting the officers' recommendation. The Council only recently awarded the Freedom of Brent to Nelson Mandela, a man who said he could never be free until the Palestinians are free. Back in the 80s the Labour Brent Council was in the forefront of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and despite officer advice at the time did take a stand against awarding IT contracts to firms operating in South Africa.
Brent Labour Council should stand up for the freedom of Palestinians, not give our money to a company that helps oppress them.
The agenda for the Brent Executive will not be available on the council website until the weekend.

Brent PSC is urging human rights supporters to contact their local councillors regarding the contract. Councillors should be asked to write to Brent Executive members calling for them to reject the officers' recommendation  and NOT award the contract to Veolia.

The email addresses and telephone numbers of councillors can be found HERE

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Demonstration and petition urge Brent Council to reject Veolia

Many thanks to all our supporters who attended last night's demonstration

Human rights demonstrators gathered outside Brent Civic Centre last night as a petition signed byt hundred of Brent residents was presented to the Brent Executive calling for Veolia to be excluded from the Public Realm contract procurement process. The contract worth up to £250m over 16 years will be awarded by the Brent Executive at their October 14th meeting.

Exclusion is sought on the grounds that Veolia in its operations in the occupied territories of Palestine is colluding in the maintenance of illegal settlements and this infringing the human rights of Palestinians.

Veolia has been short-listed alongside Enterprise and Serco for the contract.

After hearing the speech from Liz Lindsay, Secretary of Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity and an activist in the Bin Veolia in Brent Campaign, the Executive referred the petition to FionaLedden, head of procurement for consideration.

Liz Lindsay's speech was warmly applauded from the crowded public gallery.


Just as pension funds are concerned about ethical investment we believe the council should be concerned about ethical procurement. 

The public would not want the council   to give contracts to companies involved in the exploitation of child labour or the arms trade.

Veolia who are bidding for the Public Realm contract are serving the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The UK Govt and UN do not recognise Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Veolia helps support Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land by
  • Supporting the Jerusalem Light Rail between West Jerusalem and an illegal settlement
  • Running bus routes along the Apartheid road 443 that link illegal Israeli  settlements .
  • Owning  the Tovlan landfill site that takes refuse from illegal settlements and Israel.

Veoila therefore profits by actively supporting Israel’s continued violation of international humanitarian law
Under Public Contracts Regulations, a public body may exclude a bidder or reject a bid where it is found the organisation has ‘committed grave misconduct in the course of their business’
In 2009, the UN General Assembly called on Israel to cease the dumping of waste  in occupied Palestinian land.

In 2010, UK was one of countries that voted in support of the UNHR Council resolution that stated JLR operated by Veolia is in clear violation of International Law and relevant UN resolutions.
In 2012, Richard Falk UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the OPT concludes that
Veolia’s grave breaches of the UN Global Compact make it an inappropriate partner for any public institution, especially as a provider of public services.

Also, Veolia was forced to withdraw JLR recruitment advertisements because they discriminated against Palestinians.

Locally,  WLWA, Ealing, Harrow, Richmond did not select Veolia as the preferred bidder and all had been involved in discussions with anti-Veolia campaigners.

Veolia withdrew after 2 years from the final stages of the £4.5bn NLWA procurement when they were one of only two bidders left.

As Veolia has become the target of worldwide campaigns, Veolia  has tried to waive responsibility, claiming in 2011 for example that it had sold Tovlan. 

However,  on the 17th Jan 2013, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection –in response to FOI by a Women's Peace Group in Tel Aviv confirmed that Veolia is the sole owner and operator of Tovlan.
We informed Brent Council of this on the 14th March but Veolia repeated its claim on 21st May 2013.
The Council does not appear to have challenged this misrepresentation. 

In June 2013, an Israeli Court fined Veolia 1.5 million shekels for burying mixed waste to avoid higher fees and for keeping inconsistent records.

Brent Council should seriously question any information that Veolia provides in its defence in its bid to win the contract.

One argument used against exclusion has been that Veolia in Israel and in the UK are separate entities. There is ample evidence available that Veolia is one commercial entity. 

Also, Justin Brazier, Tory MP, facilitated a meeting between Veolia Executive, Robert Hunt and Canterbury Campaigners at which Robert Hunt confirmed that Veolia was one commercial entity. 

Francis Maude on the 23rd May, 2012 stated explicitly,  regarding illegal settlements that companies that have committed ‘an act of grave professional misconduct in the course of their business may be excluded from a tender exercise’


Brent Council is particularly proud of representing a diverse population and is committed to equality and opposed to racism as demonstrated recently by their stand against the 'racist van' and the UKBA raids. 
Human rights issues are at the core of the Council's values.

Our campaign has been supported by members from many religions and non-religious residents, by members of the Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties, by Brent TUC, trade unions,  GCs of Brent Central,  and Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Parties and local members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

We call on the Executive to take a principled stand on the issue of Veolia's collusion in the abuse of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories and to take action by excluding Veolia from the £260m Public Realm contract.

Bishop Tutu said what he saw in occupied Palestine could describe apartheid South Africa.. Nelson Mandela, now a Freeman of Brent, said he would not be truly free until the Palestinian people are free. Respect them -  BIN VEOLIA!.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Brent Veolia Contract demo tomorrow - decision October 14th

Tomorrow the petition against Veolia being given the £250m plus Brent Public Realm contract will be presented to the Executive at the Civic Centre. The Bin Veolia campaign will be given 5 minutes to speak to the petition at the beginning of the meeting and there will be a demonstration of supporters outside the Civic Centre from 6.30pm.

Overnight the Council released  information that the Executive will make their decision at their October 14th meeting:
To award the contract for public realm services including waste, recycling, street cleaning, winter gritting and grounds maintenance for Brent Council land and Brent Housing Partnership parks and open spaces and approve any consequential recommendations.
The campaign for Veolia's exclusion is based on the claim that their activities in the Occupied Territories of Palestine provide infrastructural support for the illegal settlements and that this amounts to 'grave misconduct'.

In June an Israeli court fined TMM Integrated Recycling Industries, owned by Veolia, NIS 1.5m for burying waste after finding inconsistencies between the company's reports on the amount of waste it had handled - and for which it had to pay a fee - and the actual amounts disposed of.

Th judge said it was amazing how the company was able to transform large qualities of waste into 'sorting remnants' in a single day without any additional manpower, overtime hours or additional shifts - and amazingly it happened as soon as the landfill fee was  instituted.
Source: Haaretz 13.6.13

The Executive report on the contract will not contain full information: LINK
The report will contain an appendix wih confidential information as specified in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, namely: information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding the information); confidential information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.

Brent Council has been playing cat and mouse with Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign over legal issues to do with the procurement process. The withholding of information by the Council has led some experienced legal advisers to suggest that there could be grounds for a Judicial Review in the future.

The exchanges over an FOI request can be found HERE

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Demonstrate against Veolia at Brent Executive on August 19th

The Brent Council Executive will receive the Bin Veolia in Brent petition calling for the exclusion of Veolia from the current procurement of the £250m plus Public Realm contract at its meeting on Monday August 19th.

The petition has received widespread support across the community from people who believe that Veolia's activities in the occupied territories of Palestine constitute serious misconduct in terms of human rights and make it an unsuitable company to receive council tax payers' money.

Veolia runs bus and rail services that help maintain illegal Israeli settlements in land stolen from the Palestinians as well as a waste facility on Palestinian land that dumps rubbish from Israel and the settlements.

The Bin Veolia in Brent has sought to engage with Brent Council officers in providing evidence about Veolia's conduct and the legal grounds on which the company could be excluded. We have encountered difficulties in getting answers to key questions and these are the subject of a Freedom of Information request LINK

We have also sought a meeting with Cllr Roxann Mashari, lead member for the Environment, to discuss the issue, so far without success.

We ask our supporters to join us for a demonstration in  support of Veolia's exclusion outside the new Brent Civic Centre at 6.30pm on Monday August 19th and to attend the Executive Meeting at 7pm when we are given 5 minutes to present our case.

Details on how to get to the Civic Centre are HERE

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Mahmoud Sarsak tells his story to the UK

Mahmoud Sarsak speaks at the meeting we held at the Pakistan Community Centre, Willesden Green

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Great Fundraising Garden Party on Sunday

If you know you are able to come to our wonderful fundraising garden party on Sunday 7th July, please buy your tickets now if possible. This will help us know how much more publicity we need to do and it is also much cheaper for you!

This year's event should be great.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond her control Julie Felix has had to drop out but we still have the wonderful Singer Songwriter, Leon Rosselson, the amazing Socialist Magician, Ian Saville, a brand new act for us, Mizan the Poet and our regular Folk and Rock Duo, Finisterre and Musical Comedy duo Jo Stephenson and Dan Woods have stepped into the breach. They will perform some of their show from the Chelsea Fringe Can You Dig It? plus Dan's History of the Soviet Union to the melody of Tetris

If you would like to see / hear more of our performers you can go to:
www.leonrosselson.co.uk/ for Leon Rosselson
www.redmagic.org.uk/ for Ian Saville
and you will find Mizan the Poet on You Tube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=COPNv79sNtl

And, those who have never been before, should know we are also famous for our delicious food which includes vegetarian options and fabulous deserts.

So - hoping you can come. See below for details of how you can buy tickets.

Sunday 7th July, 4pm - 10pm 
In Kate and Jamie's Garden, Willesden Green (the full address comes with the ticket!)
Special advanced prices
£15 Solidarity / Waged, £11 Low Waged / Retired, £8 Students / Benefit Claimant's
Prices on the door rise to £10 / £15 / £20
for more information and to reserve your ticket(s) e-mail brentstopthewar@gmail.com or brentharrowpsc@hotmail.co.uk    
or else ring/text Sarah (StW) on 07951 084101 or Martin (PSC) on 020 8908 3913
Organised by Brent Stop the War and Brent& Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Monday, 1 July 2013

Jewish Support for Bin Veolia in Brent Campaign

Neither the Kilburn Times nor the Wembley and Willesden Observer published a letter sent a few weeks ago on the issue of Veolia and the Brent Public Realm contract. In the light of the barring of discussion of a Lib Dem motion on the subject at the last Brent Council meeting and subsequent coverage in the Times of Israel LINK I publish the the letter below.

Despite a Freedom of Information request Brent Council have still not answered two of the three questions posed  LINK  They have confirmed that the three short-listed companies for the £250m 16 year contract are Veolia, Enterprise and Serco.

LETTER TO EDITOR Human rights and the public realm contract

We are writing to ask your readers to support our campaign to persuade Brent Council to act to defend justice and human rights. The Council is about to award a contract worth more than £250m over 16 years for the collection and recycling of waste, street cleaning and parks maintenance. This is  money paid in general taxation and council tax by Brent citizens that could go to a firm accused of grave misconduct in its abuse of justice and human rights in the occupied territories of Palestine.
Veolia, one of the  bidders  for the contract supports Israeli settlements  on Palestinian  land, which are illegal under international law, by:
  1. Sharing in the building and running of the Jerusalem Light Railway between West Jerusalem and the illegal settlement in Pisgat Zeev.
  2. Running bus routes that link illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to Israel and that discriminates against Palestinians.
  3. Owning and operating the Tovlan landfill site that dumps rubbish from Israel and its illegal settlements on to Palestinian land.
We have presented legal evidence on these issues to Brent Council in a campaign to persuade them to exclude Veolia from the current procurement on the grounds of its ‘grave misconduct’.
This included a statement from Richard Falk of the UN which said: “Veolia is an inappropriate partner for any public institution, especially as a provider of public services.”
However, Brent Council has gone ahead and short-listed Veolia, along with Serco and Enterprise for the contract. Council officers have refused to answer our questions on the procurement process the most important of which are:
1. Why did you decide not to exercise your discretionary power to exclude Veolia?
2. What legal or other advice led you to this decision?
3. Have the allegations of grave misconduct been put to Veolia and if so what was the response?
We think these are reasonable questions that deserve an answer. In a number of recent procurement cases Veolia has withdrawn from the bidding process when the third question has been put.
Our campaign is cross-party and community-based and involves people of many faiths and none. Readers can get involved by signing our petitions on line or on paper which are available at http://www.brentpsc.blogspot.co.uk/
Brent Council, representing a borough with a diverse population from many ethnic and religious backgrounds, should stand up for human rights and social justice and exclude Veolia from the procurement process.
Beryl  Maizels
Leon Rosselson
Sheila Robin
Jews for Justice for Palestinians on behalf of the Bin Veolia in Brent Campaign.