Village residents say Civil Administration seized device used for disposing sewage, claiming it causes environmental damage to adjacent settlements. ‘They expect us to collect our waste in bottles,’ says Palestinian

Ali Waked
Published: 04.07.10, 23:29 / Israel News

Who will empty out the sewage from Palestinian villages between Nablus and Ramallah? Thousands of Palestinians will have to make-do without the tanker that empties out sewage from drainage holes in the area, after the Civil Administration’s environmental protection unit confiscated the vehicle on Tuesday.

According to Palestinian sources, the Civil Administration claimed the sewage overspill in the area was harming the environment in the adjacent settlements of Shilo, Eli and Shvut Rachel, as well as a number of outposts in the area.
The Palestinian villages, especially those located in area C, are not connected to the central sewage system, and the Civil Administration has not granted them license to connect to a proper sewage system.

As such, Palestinians are made to dig private drainage holes in each and every house, which are emptied out periodically. The cost of sewage removal depends the amount of sewage collected and varies between NIS 50 (about $13.5) and NIS 250 ($67).

‘Discriminatory policies’
Qaryut village Council Head Abed An-Naser Badawi told Ynet that members of the Civil Administration’s environmental protection unit came on Tuesday and confiscated the tanker while it was about to spill the sewage in an area south of the village.

“This land belongs to the village and is located between us and the settlement of Shilo. Two years ago the village’s landfill was also closed under the claim that it was harming the environment.

“Where are we supposed to dump our garbage and sewage – if we have no regulated systems? The tanker used to empty the sewage from each house, but now that it was taken away from us, what will we do with the sewage from our village and the surrounding villages?”

Badawi said that the only available options left were using an illegal area to dump the sewage or take the risk and go back to the same spot. “This will also involve an increase in prices,” Badawi added, “Every driver that wants to remove sewage will know that he risks having his tanker confiscated and raise his prices – which will eventually harm the residents.”

Some embittered village residents said the Civil Administration expects them to collect their waste with bottles, “But even if we do that, where will we dispose of these bottles, if every time they close the landfill where we dump our waste.”

The Rabbis for Human Rights Organization said that the incident “demonstrates Israel’s foul and discriminatory policies against Palestinians, despite its obligation toward them as the occupier.”

The organization added that “while the settlers live in the same geographic space as the Palestinians and lead their lives according to standards of the 21st century, Israel is forcing Palestinians to live in a completely separate universe where time has stood still, and prevents them from properly planning their most basic needs and infrastructure.”

The Civil Administration issued a response claiming the tanker was confiscated because it disposed of sewage in impermissible areas, while harming the environment.

The tanker’s owner on Thursday will be summoned for a hearing and required to comply with the regulations stated in the law. If the owner complies, the Civil Administration will consider returning the tanker in order not to harm the residents.