The planned construciton of a cement plant in the Judaean desert has angered Bedouin residents of the area as well as Israeli NGOs who fear that severe environmental damage and pollution may be caused.
Elisha Ben Kimon|Published: 05.11.16

Conflict between Palestinian Police and Bedouin residents broke out this week in the Rashaida area of the Judaean Desert after the Palestinian Authority announced its intention to build a large cement plant near the Khatsatson Stream.

On Wednesday, planners from the Palestinian Authority arrived in the area and were met with protests from Bedouin families from the Rashaida tribe, who live in the area. Residents fear the construction of the plant and related infrastructure will lead to health hazards, pollution and noise that will harm the desert environment and push their herds from traditional pastures.

NGO Regavim told Ynet that the plant should be built in within Area B, which is jointly controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Israel, because it can cause serious environmental damage. The NGO further claims that the planned site is in an area specified by the Oslo Accords as forbidden for building by both parties.

“It is clear that the construction of a plant of this type, to a very high degree of certainty, will cause severe environmental damage, specifically to the Khatsatson Stream area,” said Oved Arad, Manager of Land Division at Regavim.

Boaz Arazi, an attorney representing Regavim, appealed to the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Environmental Protection and the Civil Administration to take the necessary steps to halt construction of the plant in order to protect Israeli, environmental and public interests.

In a letter, Arazi claims, “The family of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is involved in the construction of this plant and there are serious concerns that this involvement is impacting the planning and approval process of this project.”,7340,L-4874611,00.html