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Waste Dumps Damage Palestinian Land

Three IWPS and one MPTer protested at a demonstration planned by Deir Shafar village, the surrounding villages, and the municipality of Nablus. As they headed toward the village, their car was rerouted because of the Israeli construction of a new, and third, checkpoint at the entrance to the village. These checkpoints make entrance and exit from the village difficult and time consuming.

In the mayor's office, the group was given a brief update on the situation of the waste/garbage during village.

In 2002, the Israeli Occupation forces confiscated a quarry and nearby land belonging to an Palestinian family. Since then the area has been used to dump waste from the Quedumim settlement and a nearby Israeli industrial area. Israel has plans to use this site for the garbage of all the settlements in the area, including some several miles. This waste dump is a tremendous health hazard to the thousands of inhabitants of the nearby villages in the Nablus district. There are five artesian wells in the area near the dump which the villages rely on for their water supply and irrigation. Directly underneath the quarry is a huge water reservoir, which supplies 40% of the city of Nablus with water. Experts fear that the dump will contaminate these water sources. Toxic pollution from the dump has a major impact on agricultural systems and water supplies. The inevitable contamination of the Deir Shafar aquifer would be an ecological and humanitarian disaster.

In 2004, the Israel High Court ruled in favor of the villages, ordering an end to the dumping of the waste in the area. Despite the court order, the settlement persisted in dumping garbage and confiscating more land well into 2005. A representative from the mayor's office said that recently the Israeli District Coordinating Committee told them that the Israeli govenment has plans to reopen this controversial toxic waste dump. Industrial wastes, including petrochemical wastes from the factories located in the area will be brought to this Palestinian land from the illegal Israeli industrial parks in the area.

Israel's construction and operation of this waste site violates international law. Article 55 of the Geneva Convention states that the occupier must protect the natural environment of the occupied country again severe long term damage. The health and survival of the population must not be prejudiced. http://www.poica.org/editor/casestudies/view.php?recordID=548

The day of the demonstration, over a hundred people from the villages and the Nablus municipality gathered near the dump to protest the confiscation of the land and environmental destruction caused by the dump. Trucks and bulldozers have leveled much of the quarry land. The garbage of the past, including tons of rubber tires, had been buried under several feet of sand, which does not prevent linkage into the ground water. Furthermore, there are plans to continue the domestic and industrial waste dumping in the area. http://stopthewall.org/photos/907.shtml

There were no journalists or Israeli military at the demonstration. The demonstration serves as a reminder of what it means to be an occupied people. The local people will wait to see what their Palestinian lawyers who continue to work on the case can achieve.

Farmland is lost to the quarry. Sand and gravel is used in the illegal Israeli settlements.

People begin to gather for the demonstration.
The garbage dump was bulldozed under and covered with layers of sand.
The area of the old dump is the size of a football field.
The banner, written in rather bad English, protests the effects of pollution on all life.
The right to move freely throughout their land is a human right denied to Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
[Left banner] The occupation and the illegal Israeli settlements have led to apartheid.
The boys proudly carry their nicely made protest signs.
Village leaders speak against the environmental degradation caused by the dump.
Reopening the waste site would be disastrous according to village leaders.
A spokeswoman from the Nablus municipality expresses her fear of water contamination.
Another village leader expresses his fear of the continued devastation of the land and water.
Nablus women express their hope that the site will not be re-opened.
A beautifully scrolled poster expresses the horror of the waste dump.
Another beautiful banner expresses the concerns of the people.
The confiscated quarry.
Huge machines carry and process the sand of the quarry.
The demonstrators pass the quarry as they leave.

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