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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/17/09

Dangerous, Untreated Wastewater in the West Bank

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Dangerous Untreated West Bank Wastewater - by Stephen Lendman


B'Tselem is the Jerusalem-based independent Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (OPT) with a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and integrity. It was founded in 1989 to "document and educate the Israeli public, policymakers (and concerned people everywhere) about human rights violations in the OPT, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public (and elsewhere, especially among Jews), and create a human rights culture in Israel" to convince government officials to respect human rights and comply with international law.


It conducts wide-ranging, carefully researched, and thoroughly cross-checked reports, most recently its June one titled, "Foul Play: Neglect of wastewater treatment in the West Bank." This article discusses its findings as further evidence of how Israel violates international humanitarian law as an occupying power. Because no global authority holds it accountable, over 2.8 million West Bank Palestinians suffer along with another 1.5 million under siege in Gaza for over two years and counting.


Introduction


Human activity produces wastewater for which treatment is essential "to prevent and reduce sanitation and environmental hazards" that otherwise would result - from dangerous viruses, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that pollute water, farm crops, flora, and fauna, and reduce land fertility.


Israeli West Bank and Jerusalem settlements produce about 91 million cubic meters of wastewater annually, more than double the amount from Palestinian communities. Yet most of it goes untreated. As an occupying power, international humanitarian law requires it be done, yet Israel violates its obligations across the board making Palestinians suffer grievously as a result.


Wastewater from Settlements and Jerusalem


Israel's Civil Administration environmental protection staff officer, Benny Elbaz, told B'Tselem that (other than outpost wastewater) all of it from settlements gets "adequate" treatment, and raw effluent isn't allowed to flow freely.


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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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