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Israel is ‘poisoning Palestine’, study reveals

Palestinian farmers work in turning household garbage and the remains of plants into compost for farming in stead of chemical fertilisers and pesticides [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]
Palestinian farmers work in turning household garbage and the remains of plants into compost for farming in stead of chemical fertilisers and pesticides [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Palestinians in the West Bank are facing serious human rights violations and increasing food insecurity as a result of the use of toxic pesticides in illegal settlements, a fact-finding mission has revealed.

A joint research project carried out by the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN) and the PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) found that the occupied West Bank contains highly hazardous pesticides which are banned by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Half of the pesticides used within the areas under the PA’s jurisdiction are illegal, and five tonnes of them have been confiscated since 1995, according to the findings.

Dr Meriel Watts, who took part in preparing the report, warned that the Israeli policies of control prevent the PA from restricting the trade and use of these pesticides.

“It is unacceptable that the PA, with one of the tightest pesticide registration and compliance systems, including not allowing pesticides that are banned in their country of origin, is thwarted at every turn by the Israeli authorities who knowingly facilitate the entry of banned highly hazardous pesticides into the occupied West Bank.”

The Palestinian residents, particularly children, living in villages and cities near Israeli chemical waste-producing settlements are exposed to contaminated soil and drinking water, and mosquito-borne, respiratory and eye diseases, the report added.

To highlight the issue on a global scale, the organisations launched an online petition entitled “Stop Poisoning Palestine” on World Social Justice Day, 20 February.

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