6 September 2013
Dutch engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV announced today that it has decided to terminate its contract to design the controversial Kidron Valley sewage treatment plant in East Jerusalem, citing concerns over violating international laws.
Sewage running through the valley has damaged the ecology of the area but Palestinian politicians, who claim that the plant will support illegal Jewish settlements, have pressed the company to withdraw from the project, which is in the early stages of preliminary design.
In a statement today Royal HaskoningDHV said it "carries out its work with the highest regard for integrity and in compliance with international laws and regulations".
The company said: "In the course of the project, and after due consultation with various stakeholders, the company came to understand that future involvement in the project could be in violation of international law.
PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (Carsten Sohn/Wikimedia
"This has led to the decision of Royal HaskoningDHV to terminate its involvement in the project."
On 29 August Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi called on the Dutch engineering firm to end its involvement.
"The primary objective of this plant is to serve and to strengthen Israel’s illegal settlements, to deepen its annexation of East Jerusalem, and to consolidate its occupation of the West Bank," she said in a statement, "not to provide clean water to Palestinians."
Dr Ashrawi added: "Contrary to what some may claim, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is not a partner in this project; the PNA has explicitly and repeatedly expressed its strong objection to the project, and such a position has been communicated to Royal HaskoningDHV, as well as to the Dutch government."