Israeli travelers report foul smell from the river due to Palestinian pollution; Israeli authorities have taken action to restore the state of the river; ‘we saw dozens of dead fish, black water – it was real horror,’ visitor said.
Raanan Ben Zur and Ilana Curiel|Published: 30.10.16

Israelis noticed a significant amount of pollution in the Alexander River over the past week, the source of which appears to be waste from Palestinian olive harvests in the West Bank. Similar signs of pollution were spotted in the river last year.

One Israeli wrote on Saturday, “The path’s general area is clean and well-kept. It’s really fun and pleasant to walk there – the surface is paved, there are drinking fountains, shaded benches, garbage cans, and no trash. However, there was a stink all along the path whose origin couldn’t be explained. We thought at first that the source of the smell was from still water and the surrounding orchards. But it all changed when we reached the turtle bridge. There were no turtles. And to our shock, we saw dozens of dead fish and black water; a real horror.”

“The site was just horrible,” he continued, “It looked like they poured oil into the river and all the fish there died. It’s sad to see nature die in front of your eyes like that.”

Israeli authorities have invested significant resources in restoring the state of the Alexander River, a river with large populations of fish, turtles, and other acquatic creatures. The river has become a tourist attraction, visited by thousands of Israelis every weekend.

However, each year, waste from the seasonal olive harvests in the West Bank flows into the river, leading to the deaths of fish and other animals, along with causing foul odors. In addition, the pollutants may put plant life along the river’s banks in danger.

Head of the Emek Hefer Regional Council Rani Idan, in charge of parts of the territory in which the river flows, claims that there are existing plans to add water purifiers on the Palestinian side of the river, which would join those on the Israeli side. According to Idan, these would cost about NIS 200 million and take about three years to implement, but has not yet been approved by the Israeli government.,7340,L-4871996,00.html