December 2017
Researched and written by Adam Aloni
Translated by
Maya Johnston
English edited by Shuli Wilkansky

Table of Contents
Introduction 4
Waste recycling in the West Bank 6
Waste recycling legislation 12
Conclusions 16
Appendix: Israeli waste treatment facilities in the West Bank (including areas annexed to the Jerusalem municipality) 19

Power disparities between populations are among the chief factors that determine who will have better access to resources, and who will suffer from greater exposure to waste and hazardous materials.1 The more developed a country is – the combined result of a number of factors, including economic growth, globalization and urbanization – the more resources it consumes and the more waste it generates per capita.
The State of Israel is a developed nation and a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As such, its resource consumption per capita is high and it generates waste accordingly. Israel’s per capita ecological footprint – the measure of how much land and water are required to provide the resources consumed and absorb the waste generated – is three times that of either Egypt or Jordan.2
As the amount of waste generated grew worldwide, so did its negative impact on the environment and public health. Over time, experts came to favor the treatment of waste and hazardous materials (recycling or energy recovery) over their disposal (by depositing or burying in landfills) to help mitigate this injurious impact.3
Though waste treatment is preferable to waste disposal, it is still a polluting industry. Many waste treatment processes, particularly of hazardous waste, could potentially result in health hazards and pollution, including harm to open spaces; water, air and ground pollution; noise and dust nuisance; visual pollution and pests.
With a view to minimizing the damage caused by waste treatment plants, various restrictions have been introduced with regard to their establishment and operation. However, these restrictions are not uniform, and here too the disparity between developed and developing nations is plain to see. While developed countries have imposed a slew of costly restrictions on waste treatment facilities operating on their land, developing nations – which face structural, economic and infrastructure challenges – are hard put to institute the same strict environmental standards, and where they have done so, have trouble enforcing them.
In addition, plans for waste treatment plants are often met with resistance from local residents due to the hazards involved in their operations. The greater the local population’s economic and political power, the more effective the objection and the more likely it is for the plant to be moved away.

Like other countries, Israel has a waste treatment system. Internal objections to local treatment plants, combined with the high costs associated with stringent environmental regulation and international restrictions on waste export, have encouraged Israel to seek sacrifice zones,4 where waste treatment facilities could be placed.
Israel found these sacrifice zones in the West Bank. Abusing its status as an occupying power and the fact that Palestinians have no say in the decision-making process – which also means they cannot object to any decision made – Israel applies less rigorous regulations in industrial zones in settlements and even offers financial incentives such as tax breaks and government subsidies. This policy has made it more profitable to build and operate waste treatment facilities in the West Bank than inside Israel.
Israel transfers to the West Bank various types of waste: sewage sludge, infectious medical waste, used oils, solvents, metals, electronic waste and batteries, to name but a few. All of these are urban and industrial by-products Israel generates within its own territory, and they are made up of a wide range of unwanted substances that pose a real threat to the people and natural resources in their vicinity.
Israel’s environmental policy in the West Bank, including situating polluting waste treatment facilities there, is part and parcel of the policy of dispossession and annexation it has practiced in the West Bank for the past fifty years. Israel is exploiting the West Bank for its own benefit, ignoring the needs of the Palestinians almost entirely, and harming both them and their environment.
The first part of the report focuses on five waste treatment facilities built in the West Bank, with the state’s encouragement and support. Four of the five plants process hazardous waste. The second part shows how Israel manages to evade its responsibilities by creating a legal framework different from the one it is bound by inside Israel.

full report: