A Dutch engineering firm that was slated to participate in the construction of a sewage treatment facility in east Jerusalem announced on Friday that it was pulling out of the project.
In a move that drew praise from the Palestinians, the company, Royal HaskoningDHV, released a statement on Friday saying that it decided to terminate its involvement in the project “after due consultation with various stakeholders.”
“Royal HaskoningDHV has today advised the client it has decided to terminate the contract for the Kidron waste water treatment plant project,” the firm announced on its Web site. “The project is in the early stages of the preliminary design phase.”
Royal HaskoningDHV 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.”
“This has led to the decision of Royal HaskoningDHV to terminate its involvement in the project.”
The move was applauded by the Palestinian Authority. Hanan Ashrawi, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, hailed the Dutch firm’s decision. According to Ashrawi, the Dutch government had pressured the company to withdraw from the project.
“Royal HaskoningDHV has emphasized that it conducts its work with the highest regard for integrity and in full compliance with international law and regulations,” Ashrawi said in a statement. “The planned Israeli water treatment plant in East Jerusalem breaches international law, and it is primarily designed to service illegal settlements that cause severe human rights violations.”
“This project deepens Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, consolidates its occupation of the West Bank, and constitutes another obstacle to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
This past July, the European Union enraged the Israeli government after its controversial decision to institute new guidelines limiting interaction with Israeli entities beyond the pre-1967 lines.
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