Residents of Matte Asher Regional Council in western Galilee mount protest in attempt to prevent building of new desalination facility on agricultural land

Published: 10.08.12

Residents of the western Galilee are trying to prevent the construction of a new desalination plant on the beach in Shavei Zion, Ynet has learned.

The plant is supposed to be built on appropriated agricultural land, between Kibbuz Lohamei HaGetaot and Shavei Zion, as part of a new industrial zone planned for the area, which will stretch across some 50 acres.

The area’s residents have garnered the support of the Matte Asher Regional Council – under whose jurisdiction the new industrial zone will fall – for the fight, as well as the support of the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel, the Zalul Environmental Association, Green Trend Israel and the Forum for the Preservation of Israel’s Beaches.

“This new industrial zone, that is set to appear virtually out of thin air, will be a polluting, fuming and noisy industrial monster, located just 350 yards from residential neighborhoods and bordering an area earmarked by the State for maritime preservation,” the Shavei Zion preservation campaign said in a statement posted on its website.

The campaign said that the residents are “willing to mount an unwavering fight” and that they will not relent in their protest until the project is cancelled.

“We will never break the law, but we will do everything to prove to the State and the zoning authorities that we are determined to stop this environmental catastrophe,” the website states.

“Other desalination projects were formed in existing industrial zones, and only the one in our area will take over an agricultural field, across from residential buildings.”

The campaign added that the recommendation to build the desalination plant in its current location “Is a threat to the quality of life, nature and the environment in the area.”

The residents’ protest so far included several protest rallies, but this weekend they will hold a swimming event, meant to raise awareness to the issue. The swim will be held on Saturday, October 13, at 8 am.,7340,L-4289355,00.html