Al-Haq welcomes the decision by the Dutch company Royal HaskoningDHV to terminate its involvement in a municipal wastewater project to be located in occupied East Jerusalem. In particular, Al-Haq approves of Royal HaskoningDHV’s adherence to principles of international law, and their commitment to the principles and standards of the UN Global Compact (2000). The first two principles of the UN Global Compact (2000) state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. In a statement issued on 6 August the company explained that “[i]n the course of the project, and after due consultation with various stakeholders, we came to understand that future involvement in the project could be in violation of international law.”
As the Occupying Power, Israel has the obligation to protect the occupied population and ensure public order and safety. However, it must carry out its responsibilities for the benefit of the occupied population and may under no circumstances administer the territory to further its own interests. The proposed wastewater treatment plant will serve the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, thereby solidifying their existence and perpetuating violations of international law. Furthermore, the wastewater treatment plant will primarily benefit the settlement enterprise at the expense of the occupied Palestinian population and its economy.
Al-Haq hopes that this decision will serve as a precedent to other companies, and to Royal HaskoningDHV itself, when considering future contracts that would involve corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of international law.