AL-BIREH, August 19, 2013 (WAFA) – A decision by the Israeli military to close the waste disposal site the municipality of al-Bireh, Ramallah’s twin city, has been using for over 30 years, has caused serious concern among city and state officials who spoke on this subject on Monday.

The military ordered the site located near the Israeli settlement of Psagot to the east of al-Bireh closed on August 7 leaving the city of al-Bireh and its 80,000 residents without a waste disposal site and forcing garbage trucks to empty their load at various areas of the city before burning them causing serious health and environmental issues.

The city has been unloading its garbage in an open field near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, which encircles al-Bireh from the north, before incinerating the garbage.

Israeli military bulldozers and soldiers were seen in the area on Monday clearing the site from the garbage and pushing it back to inside al-Bireh area forcing closure of main roads in the city.

Speaking at a meeting in al-Bireh city hall, local officials warned that Israel has closed the site in order to expropriate the land for the expansion of Psagot.

Minister of Local Government Saed Kouni left no doubt that Israel’s purpose behind closure of the site is to eventually takeover the Palestinian land to expand the settlement of Psagot.

He said the Palestinian Authority had actually wanted to expand the site but Israel had always refused.

Al-Bireh mayor, Fawzi Abed, warned that the closure of the site, which was run by a company and properly managed, and absence of an alternative dump is going to cause serious environmental and health problems.

He accused Israel of violating international law by preventing Palestinians from using their own land for whatever purpose they see fit.

The current site is located in Area C, which according to the Oslo classifications, is under full Israeli control until a time comes when a final peace agreement is reached between Palestine and Israel.

Deputy governor of Ramallah, Hamdan Barghouti, said efforts are underway to find an alternative site to prevent an environmental and health disaster in al-Bireh.