In August 2015, Veolia Environnement’s subsidiary, Transdev, has sold all of its holdings in the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) to a group of Israeli investors. The approval of the deal by the Israeli authorities marked the end of Veolia’s operations in the Israeli market in general, and its involvement in the controversial JLR project in particular. Who Profits Research Center can now confirm that all ownership transfers have been completed; therefore, Veolia Environnement, Transdev and CDC are removed from our database.
Until August 2015, Trasndev, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, held a minority interest (5%) in CityPass, a consortium that won the tender by the Israeli government to build the JLR, as well as full ownership (100%) of the train’s operator – Connex Jerusalem. The JLR, which began operating in December 2011, was designed to connect the western part of Jerusalem to the illegal settlements surrounding the city. Its route crosses the Green Line and passes through the Palestinian neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina.
On 2 September 2014, Transdev (formerly: Veolia Transdev) signed a contract with the CityPass consortium for the sale of Connex Jerusalem and Transdev’s 5% share in CityPass. The buyer, CityPass, comprises three Israeli shareholders: The Ashtrom Group; IIF – Israel Infrastructure Fund; and Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services.
Last August, the Who Profits Research Center revealed that the deal was fulfilled and that the sale of Connex Jerusalem, together with the 5% share of CityPass, reached completion. For further information, see the Who Profits update from August 2015.
According to data by the Israeli Companies Registrar, 100% of Connex Jerusalem shares were transferred from Transdev to an Israeli holding company, jointly owned by the Ashtrom Group, IIF and Harel Insurance. However, contradicting reports regarding the fate of Trandev’s 5% share in CityPass generated certain ambiguity concerning the identity of the current owners of these shares.
New information, published by the Registrar of Companies on 6 September 2015, reveals that Trandev’s former 5% share in CityPass was split into two equal parts and bought by Ashtrom and IIF. This last piece of information dispels any doubt that Veolia Environnement is no longer active in the Israeli market and in the occupied Palestinian territories. Therefore, the company, its subsidiary Tarnsdev and its partner CDC, are removed from the Who Profits database.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that Veolia has left behind irreversible facts on the ground. The construction of the railway involved the expropriation of occupied land and not for the benefit of the occupied population, in contravention of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The JLR continues to serve Jewish settlement neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, while passing every day through the Palestinian neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat. In this manner, it will continue to play a substantial role in the reinforcement of Israeli sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem for years to come.
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