Palestine Update 520
Israel’s mass fabrication of lies and transgressions
Without exception, Israel churns out lies and misdemeanors against Palestinians on a daily basis. These fabrications are among Israel’s biggest industries. After accusing six human rights organizations as being terrorist outfits, and having failed to cut ice with almost the rest of the world, Israel’s Foreign Ministry launched a new document supposedly with additional evidence to validate their charges. More evidence and a fresh failure is all that it has done. Lies don’t become facts when they are told in new ways. They remain lies.
By law, Israel is prohibited from transfer of Israeli waste to the West Bank. The law is no deterrence. The shipments persist briskly. There is even profit in shipping such waste. For the desperate Palestinian economy, the trash turns out to be a worthwhile investment for Palestinian scrap yards. The treatment of scrap is a treacherous health hazard because there are, in it, perilously high levels of lead in local children. Potentially this can cause lasting neurological harm. The scrap has also caused devastating respiratory ailment owing to burning waste.
Israel is abusing its power to hold back appropriate operation of Gaza’s water and sewage systems. Needed equipment has been held up. Consequently, partially treated wastewater is being released into the sea, water leakage from pipes is even worse than usual, rainwater runoff is causing a danger of flooding. The hazards of environmental degradation are severe.
Recent reports reveal that settlements are also being planted in Israel within the Green line. In a case being heard at the Israeli Supreme, it has surfaced that a number of West Bank settlements run vast agricultural lands inside the Green Line gifted by the Israeli establishment in the 1970s. Much of these hard truths are hidden by the international media only to avoid Israel looking worse than it actually is.
The news items below illustrate what we have reported.
New secret document fails to tie Palestinian NGOs to ‘terrorism’
“After failing to persuade diplomats, Israel last month began circulating a new document authored by the Foreign Ministry — acquired by +972 and Local Call, and revealed here for the first time — with additional information, in a fresh attempt to link the organizations to terrorism. Once again, however, it appears Israel has been unable to substantiate its claims, and European leaders remain unconvinced. Meanwhile, Israel has rejected the six organizations’ request to receive details about the allegations, although it extended the period for submitting an appeal on the decision from Jan. 10 to Jan. 18. The new document — which is designated “secret” despite not featuring any state logo marking it as official, and which was sent in either English or Hebrew to different countries, — does not present any real evidence against the organizations, but rather makes general claims about their alleged support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is proscribed as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, and the EU. It also focuses on personal ties between senior members of the six groups and the PFLP.”
A deadly trash trade is poisoning Palestinians in the West Bank
“In the rolling hills west of Hebron, Palestinians live amid clouds of billowing black smoke caused by their neighbors setting fire to discarded waste, almost all of it from Israel, in order to glean the prized copper within. The lucrative industry supports thousands of Palestinians and their families, bringing millions of shekels into the local economy. But Palestinians also pay a high price for the burners’ pollution. Cancer rates in nearby towns are sky-high, with children falling ill with the destructive disease at four times the rate of the rest of the West Bank, according to research by Israeli environmentalist Yaakov Garb….Israel generates about 130,000 tons of electronic scrap per year, according to official estimates. Much of it is smuggled into the West Bank, where it is resold or stripped by Palestinians seeking the valuable raw metals within….Both Israeli and Palestinian law bars the transfer of Israeli waste to the West Bank, but the shipments continue apace. Some Israeli companies and individuals save thousands of shekels, or even turn a profit, by sending their waste to smugglers, who sell it to Palestinian scrapyards….The rampant pollution has left few families unscathed. Researchers have found dangerously high levels of lead in local children, which can cause long-term neurological damage. Other Palestinian residents have suffered sudden, debilitating respiratory diseases after being exposed to burning waste.”
West Bank settlements are annexing land in Israel, too
Israel has been giving vast swaths of agricultural land inside the Green Line for small West Bank settlements to profit from for years, documents show.
“Documents attached to a recent appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court highlight a little known fact: a number of West Bank settlements control vast agricultural lands inside the Green Line, which they received from Israeli authorities as far back as the 1970s….Although this is not a new phenomenon, it is unfamiliar to most Israelis. According to information provided by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) to Dror Etkes, an Israeli activist who monitors settlement construction with his NGO Kerem Navot, seven settlements — Kfar Etzion, Migdal Oz, Rosh Tzurim, Ma’on, Carmel, Beit Yatir, and Mevo Horon — have contracts with the ILA to allow the cultivation of more than 38,000 dunam [9,390 acres] inside the Green Line….Etkes adds, “it is clear that land allocations of this magnitude, especially in the Arad area, are intended to decrease the Bedouin population living in the northeastern Negev, and to create a buffer between this area and the South Hebron Hills, where there is a large Palestinian population.”
Israel Holds Up Vital Spare Parts for Gaza’s Water and Sewage Systems
“Israel is holding up the entry of hundreds of vital replacement parts for the proper functioning of Gaza’s water and sewage systems. As a result, partially treated wastewater is being released into the sea, water leakage from pipes is even worse than usual, rainwater runoff is causing a danger of flooding. The quality and quantity of drinking water, purified in special facilities, is also being affected, and the same problems keep happening because repairs are being made with makeshift materials.”
Gaza’s race against climate breakdown
“Ever-worsening shortages of water and electricity. Catastrophic flooding in dense urban areas. Food insecurity exacerbated by drastic temperature increases, reduction in overall rainfall, and the long-term impact of toxic chemicals. This is the bleak near-future that awaits the Gaza Strip, a climate change hotspot within a hotspot that is being denied both its basic humanitarian needs, and the capacity and resources to prepare for and minimize the impacts of climate breakdown. Yet tackling both these issues requires taking steps under nearly two decades of an unrelenting land, air, and sea blockade imposed by both Egypt and Israel — and repeated bombardments by the latter are also exacerbating environmental devastation in the strip, further undermining Gaza’s ability to prepare for the unfolding climate crisis.”
Let’s Talk about How the Media Covers Gaza
“Our eyes, it seems, turn to the besieged Gaza Strip only in times of incursions and assaults. Our reports focus on exceptional grief. Only extraordinary death makes headlines….And yet, inside this open-air prison, life has many more dimensions than mainstream journalism reveals. …If we measure only by distance, my home in Jerusalem is an hour away from Gaza. But because of the blockade, Gaza appears as though on a faraway planet, foreign even to neighboring Palestinians. The deliberate and systemic isolation of the Strip has translated into a cyclically vapid understanding of its reality, particularly in the media industry. To better understand the situation, I spoke to Al-Jazeera journalist Maram Humaid who recently returned to her home in Gaza after finishing a Master’s in Journalism at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar.”