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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Pollution knows no boundaries

I discussed Rawabi, the new 'Palestinian' city being built in Samaria, here. It seems that the environmental impact study that was done for Rawabi is far from satisfactory, and that Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) is threatening to cut off the access roads to the city unless the environmental problems are cleaned up.
“Pollution respects no borders and can affect the surrounding settlements – Jewish and Arab – and even have an effect across the Green Line,” he said.

The developers did show the ministry their environmental assessment, but “it was not at the level which we are accustomed to seeing,” Erdan said. Therefore, ministry officials submitted a number of comments for clarification.

Erdan said that if end solutions to issues like sewage, water and waste disposal were not presented, he would request that the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria prevent use of the access roads to the site.

Rawabi will be built completely within Area A of the West Bank, where the Environmental Protection Ministry does not have any jurisdiction whatsoever and where building permission is given by the PA and not Israel. However, the access roads to the site to bring in vehicles and supplies run through Area C, which is under Israeli military control. Erdan stated he would ask that those access routes be cut off – thus de facto freezing construction – if solutions were not presented.

The developers have been asking for an access route to be rezoned as Area A for some time.

Erdan responded to questions about that request by saying, “I am absolutely not in favor of turning the access route over to the PA. First of all, I think it would set a bad precedent, which the government would likely be asked to repeat, like the construction moratorium. Second, this is our only way to put pressure on the developers. I have no intention of creating an environmental double standard where one thing is expected of Jewish settlements, while Palestinian cities can do whatever they want.”

He added that “we can’t allow contamination of the [mountain] aquifer [which runs beneath the West Bank], either.”
Will President Cap 'N Trade insist that Israel waive its environmental laws to allow a new 'Palestinian' city to go ahead? I would bet on it.

Read the whole thing.


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