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Raw sewage from Israeli settlements poses environmental threat

February 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

A report by Israel’s Ministry for Environmental Protection has revealed that 2.2 million cubic metres of raw sewage flows annually from the country’s illegal settlements in the West Bank directly into waterways or cesspits without passing through any treatment facility. According to Haaretz newspaper, the report has been passed to Israel’s Civil Administration for the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Ministry’s report points out that almost one-third of sewage treatment facilities in the West Bank settlements are either not up to date or not in operation. Most facilities were designed to deal with 28 per cent of the amount of sewage now produced. There is a real threat of pollution in water resources and the environment generally across the West Bank as a direct result of untreated sewage coming from the settlements.

Haaretz said that the report covers more than 150 settlement compounds which are home to around 350,000 Israeli settlers. The overwhelming majority of the sewage is domestic, not industrial. For example, around 1,000 Jewish settlers live in Yitzhar settlement on Palestinian land in Nablus. Their sewage does not pass through any treatment process before being leaked through five places into the Palestinian city, which has a sewage treatment plant.

The most dangerous concern, says the report, is Elqana settlement, home to 4,000 settlers. Raw sewage is leaked directly into the biggest water reservoir in the West Bank at Al-Yarkoun.

Most Israelis, alleges Haaretz, ignore these facts and always blame the Palestinians for endangering the environment and water resources.