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Tovlan Landfill serves illegal Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian communities, West Bank


Description:

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.  

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Tovlan Landfill serves illegal Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian communities, West Bank
Country:Palestine
State or province:Jordan Valley
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Domestic municipal waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

In 2008, it was reported that Tovlan accounts for 14 percent of Israel’s solid waste dumped in landfills, or 602,766 tons annually. In 2006, dumping one ton of waste at the site cost around 40 shekels ($10) [2]

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Around 200 Palestinians
Start of the conflict:1999
Company names or state enterprises:Veolia Israel from Israel
Oaktree Capital Management from United States of America - Current operator of the landill
Veolia from France - Previous operator of the landfill
Veolia Environment from France
Relevant government actors:Israeli Occupying Forces
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Al Haq

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Boycotts of companies-products

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Occupational disease and accidents, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsSymptoms of nausea, shortness of breath and asthmatic conditions, and insect bites that cause severe skin irritations
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Land dispossession, Specific impacts on women
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Withdrawal of company/investment
Between 2010-13 Veolia lost or withdrew from waste contracts worth over £10 billion worldwide due to its involvement in human rights violations such as waste transfer into the Occupied Territories. As a result it has sold all of its Israeli based businesses [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Tovlan has operated since the 1990s as a private business, without a plan approved by the regional council, or infrastructure to prevent ground pollution and emission of greenhouse gases, or a rehabilitation plan. The site is used only by Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

UN Resolution 63/201 of 28 January 2009 calls “upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Tovlan Landfill
http://www.dumpveolia.org.uk/the-basic-case/

[2] Electronic Intifada, 'Veolia involved in Israel’s waste dumping in West Bank'
https://electronicintifada.net/content/veolia-involved-israels-waste-dumping-west-bank/7858

[4] The Trouble with Veolia and Palestine, Huffington Post, January 23, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/alex-macdonald/veolia-palestine_b_2175248.html

[3] Who Profits, “Veolia’s Involvement in the Occupied Jordan Valley – An Update,” October 10, 2011.
http://jordanvalleysolidarity.org/reports/who-profits-veolias-involvement-in-the-occupied-jordan-valley-an-update/

Israel To Dump Its Garbage In The West Bank, By David Ratner, Ha'aretz.com, 5-15-5
http://rense.com/general65/garbage.htm

Other documents

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Tovlan_09.jpg

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Tovlan_04.jpg

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Tovlan_3.JPG

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Tovlan_1.JPG

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Tovlan_2.JPG

Meta information

Contributor:Al-Haq Organization, [email protected]
Last update10/07/2017

Images

 

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq

 

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq

 

Tovlan Landfill in the Jordan Valley (c) Al-Haq