Hebron Quarries… Thousands of citizens Inhale White Dust and their Environment is depleting in favor of the pockets of the occupation
By: Thaer Faquseh
expansion of Israeli quarries on the lands of Ithna, Dura and Soba- Hebron district
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
Despite the fact that all international laws and regulations prohibit the occupying state from exploiting the natural resources of the occupied state, such as the Hague Convention, Human Rights conventions, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN resolution 38/144 published on 28/12/2015, they all continue to demonstrate that Israeli violations of Palestinian natural resources are increasing day by day.
Looting 320 million shekels (NIS) annually
In Hebron, Israeli companies managed to construct seven quarries with an area of more than 3,120 dunums. Most of these lands were seized by companies in several ways, such as land sale or leasing, in addition to a policy called “State Land”.
According to a report compiled by the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority (EQA) on Israeli quarries, the quantities of natural resources depleted annually through these quarries reaches up to 740,000 tons / month. By analyzing the prices of different products, it was found that the average price of a ton reaches up to 35 shekels and over the course of 12 months the depleted Palestinian natural resources reaches 311 million shekels annually.
The Palestinian judiciary in Hebron reported that the Palestinian security services are investigating a number of cases, which give rise to suspicions that land has been sold to Israel, especially those on which some of the quarries are built. Suspected citizens were transferred to the court of Hebron where three of them were convicted of selling 100 dunums near the towns of Al-Thahriya and Al-Samou’, and the court continues to work on other relevant cases.
The disappearance of green lands
The Engineer Bahjat Jabarin confirms that the environmental and health pollution caused by the Israeli quarries is evident in the towns of Al-Thahriya, Dora, Sa’er, Surif and Ithna, in addition to dozens of other villages. He added that the Palestinians are the ones paying the price, while the Israeli investors are enjoying the large financial revenues. Furthermore, these quarries have damaged the aesthetic and the natural appearance of more than 4000 dunums of agricultural lands through turning them into holes that cut off the geographical contiguity and threatens the public safety.
According to Jabarin, the quarries have eliminated the biodiversity and contributed to the disappearance of many wild animals such as deers and wild rabbits due to explosions. In addition to the elimination of vegetation and the destruction of natural pastures leading to overgrazing, at the expense of agricultural lands due to the lack of open spaces caused by the annexation of thousands of dunums by the Apartheid Wall.
He added that the dust resulting from these quarries in addition to some chemical gases and vapors caused by the explosions are putting the lives of more than 300 thousand citizens at risk as it’s causing diseases such as asthma and allergies; as well as the destruction of infrastructure and roads caused by the trucks and vehicles which operate on a daily basis.
Translated by: Ghadeer Kamal Zaineh