By: George Kurzom
Israeli planning for the use of Palestinian lands aims to serve the requirements of colonial settlement expansion
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons (Afaq magazine):
It has been recently reported that Israeli governments have established huge projects, referred to as "environmental" projects, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to establish and develop Israeli waste treatment facilities in various parts of the West Bank, whether those generated by settlements or by "Israel".
To address the problem of waste burning in the West Bank, the Ministries of Environment and Finance developed the last of these projects last May.
The declared Israeli pretext is that “waste that is burned in the West Bank is a dangerous source of air pollution, affecting hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians,” meaning that the Israeli government markets itself as concerned about the environmental and health systems of the Palestinians and invading settlers in the West Bank alike; Noting that the mentioned ministries are headed by two extremist racist ministers (Environment Minister Idit Silman and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich) who consider the West Bank part of the “Land of Israel”. Smotrich also considers Jordan as part of the “Greater Land of Israel” and calls for uprooting the Palestinians from their land and burning their villages (Huwara as an example).
The new Israeli government decision will allow the expansion of environmental legislation in "Israel" to include the West Bank. This situation serves the fascist government's tendency towards deepening and consolidating Israel’s control over all parts of the West Bank (without any regard to the Israeli colonial geographical divisions -A, B, and C- that were agreed on and signed by Palestinian officials).
According to the Israeli government's decision, a budget of 20 million shekels will be transferred at the current stage for the disposal of waste in 25 Palestinian villages in different parts of the West Bank and the city of Jericho.
This waste ends up in 33 random dumpsites, where frequent major fires break out.
The source of the budget is the "Cleanliness Fund" administered by the Israeli Ministry of Environment, and the budget will be used to finance the transport of waste to the landfills for a period of three years.
An “Israeli” governmental team will be formed to present a comprehensive plan to the government to deal with “trans-border” environmental risks. One of the team's main tasks is to promote the establishment of waste treatment facilities for Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank, including facilities for waste recycling and waste burning to generate electricity.
In recent years, huge Israeli projects in the West Bank have got approvals and permits from the concerned Israeli authorities, specifically the ministries of Environment, Infrastructure, Finance, and Defense in addition to the Civil Administration (specifically the so-called Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories).
It was reported that the Coordinator of Government Operations in the Palestinian Territories offered to representatives of the Palestinian Authority, in a meeting held between them about four years ago, the main features of Israeli projects in the West Bank.
The environmental landscape in the West Bank indicates that huge quantities of Israeli waste in particular are burned.
In recent years, “Afaq” magazine has counted about fifty sites in the West Bank where Israeli waste fires are almost constantly burning. On the other hand, the burning of Palestinian waste is a result of the occupation’s ban specifically to establish Palestinian sanitary landfills or to expand the existing landfills. It is stipulated that these landfills serve the Israeli settlements as well.
Huge Israeli government budgets continue to flow annually to the West Bank to install, expand, and develop settlement infrastructure, so that it can absorb more Zionist settlers. All of that with complete Israeli disregard for the Palestinian Authority, as if it does not exist.
The growing settlement projects in the West Bank are often implemented under an environmental cover. In conclusion, the ongoing Israeli government projects in the West Bank, especially those related to infrastructure (solid waste, water, wastewater, wide and long streets, bridges, tunnels, etc.) aim to consolidate and deepen Israeli control over the lands of the West Bank, thus preparing the necessary ground for annexing the West Bank to "Israel".
Translated by: Rasha Abu Dayyeh