By Zayn Rajan
A high profile case concerning a pro-Palestinian activist from East Sussex who had her water meter removed on discovering it had been supplied from a company operating in Occupied Territories in Palestine may pave the way for thousands of other Southern Waters clients to follow in her footsteps.
Caroline and Edmond O’Reilly, customers of British-based Southern Waters from Brighton, said her disapproval of the water meter, supplied by Israeli company Arad Technologies, was due to her objection of the company’s operating in land which has been unlawfully incurred by the Israeli Government from Palestinians. Moreover, Arad’s strong sodality with Israel was another bearing on O’Reilys’ opposing stance to the Arad technology product.
Caroline also said that contentment with the water meter would be “turning a blind eye” on the “methodical and ethnical discrimination against Palestinians by the Israelis in Gaza and the West Bank.” The basing and operating of Arad Technolgies on Palestinian land is therefore a clear depriving of Palestinians of their human rights, under United Nations law, she said.
Subsequent to Arad Technologies acquiring a £36 million contract with Southern Waters to produce and supply its branded water meters, plans have been revealed for an estimated 500,000 Arad technology devices (water meters, data hosting services and meter reading services) to be installed solely across the British regions of Surrey, Hampshire, Kent and Sussex.
Despite increasing controversy surrounding the installation of Arad Technologies products, a spokesperson for South Waters has denied that these forecasted installations as well as the approval of already installed Arad Technology devices have been jeopardised in any way by the case of Mrs O’Reily.
“A conclusion should not be drawn that this facility will be offered as an option to all customers. Every customer’s complaint will be viewed on an individual basis so that appropriate decisions can be made,” said spokesperson of the company.
The company has also played down the impact and significance of the case becoming public knowledge.
“I stress that in three years we have received only about a dozen such requests from nearly 300,000 meter installations and only one request has been agreed.
“In one customer’s case we have installed a second-hand conventional meter which was removed from another property in our area which now has the improved Arad meters.”
Southern Water failed to respond to questions by The Muslim News on whether or not they have violated their own ethical trading policy [vowing to only work with ethical supplier] by rewarding the contract to Arad Technologies. Southern Waters Ethical Trading Policy states that it reserves “the right to audit our suppliers in the event of any concerns”.