The Jordan Valley comprises a fifth of the territory of the occupied West Bank, and contains abundant water resources about a third of the underground reserves in the West Bank. Tovlan, established in 1999, is a 33 hectare landfill located adjacent to the Jordan River on occupied Palestinian land, within a few kilometers of Palestinian farming communities in the Jordan Valley. It receives over 600,000 tons of solid waste on an annual basis from Israeli settlements. Contaminated air from the dump, as well as insects carrying bacteria from the site, are reported by Palestinians in the surrounding area to be linked to symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath and asthmatic conditions, and insect bites that cause severe skin irritations never experienced in previous years. Tovlan is mainly used as a dump for solid waste from Israeli municipalities and illegal settlements of Ariel, Ma'ale Efrayim, the Regional Council of Megilot, Biqat Hayarden and Shomron as well as the Barkan Industrial Park. Tovlan’s settlement sewage water plant generates electricity using extracted methane gas. The energy is used exclusively by the settlements whilst noxious smells and flies make the nearby impoverished Palestinian village of Abu Ajaj virtually uninhabitable, especially in summer.
Until 2015, the Tovlan landfill was managed with the support of Veolia, a French transnational company. Veolia was targeted by international boycotts and condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories for its active involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law.
Veolia sold its business operations to US-based Oaktree Capital Management, and is being rebranded under the name “Veridis”. Veridis is headquartered in Tel Aviv, while Oaktree’s head office is in Los Angeles, California. Oaktree lists Veridis amongst its “European Principle Control Investments” and highlights the role of responsible “environmental, social and governance” investment as well as its role as managing sovereign wealth funds, public funds, pensions funds and the funds of foundations. The acquisition of Veridis and corresponding complicity in managing Israel’s settlement wastes as well as the contamination of the air, soil and water of Palestinian communities unfortunately fails to match this principled image of responsible investment practices.