Hiba wrote at on July 6 that "I had a brief conversation by phone with Dr. Mahmoud Sa'ada, he told me that there are many MANY cases in south Hebron that no one hears about, because not Israel neither the Palestinian authorities are concerned to reveal such dangerous issues." Also, others here and elsewhere have often claimed that: Israel is deliberately poisoning Palestinian lands and people.

These are indeed very serious allegations.

I hope that Dr. Mahmoud Sa'ada joins us here and puts his general case publicly and tells us what evidence he has. That way we can try to help ensure that such serious allegations are properly investigated and dealt with.

I am a fan of the "Yes Minister" British TV series. In this case, I have no idea where this discussion will go or what it will reveal. And so clearly I'd make a lousy Minister of (any) State. :-)

Please use this discussion for all related evidence and discussions. And please do not use this discussion simply for IDF bashing or gratuitous propaganda.

So: Is Israel poisoning Palestinian lands and people? And if so why is Israel doing that?

[2008 Aug 03: Changed Discussion Title from Dr. Mahmoud Sa'ada says "IDF poisons South Hebron" to Is Israel poisoning Palestinian lands and people? PmR]

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So far, there seems to be no real consistent evidence and noone here or elsewhere has taken the claim seriously. So for now, this seems to be just another baseless allegation, another would be Pallywood production, simply intended to whip up hysteria and to blatantly disseminate inciteful fabrications.

If consistent and credible evidence of systematic intent to harm Palestinians is produced, then that is another matter. One possible (but not proven) example does not prove anything.

Am I being blunt and provocative? Very deliberately so!

Be well...
Sydney OZ
Hi Paul. Simple question: Are we discussing here issues about waste disposal by Israel or a dilebrate attempt to posion Palestinian lands? Waste issues, military or civilian, are most certainly real. Israel does little to protect its own enviroment let alone that of its neighbors and the settlements often have there sewage system going straight into Palestinian farm lands (I can send you photos if you wish). As I wrote in Jafra's discussion I am still looking at the military case. But I am a little confused about diliberate attempts to poison Palestinian Lands. A lot of Israeli water comes through the West Bank, particularly from the Moutain Aquifier, if the Israeli Government are poisoning that then they are being pretty stupid (not something they are incapable of - lets face it with Olmert in charge anything is possible!). If you find anything more substantial to go on I would be interested. But right now what are you referring to specifically? The phone call that Hiba made?
I see no reason why both should not be discussud together for now. If one gets out of hand, then I think that we can start another discussion. The two claims seem to be made as though they were one. But I am happy to revise the intoruduction of this to limit the scope to the knowable Hebron issue only, should that be the concensus of those involved in this dicussion. For now there is just the two of us here.

I have to make the change simply because I started this discussion.
OK. If you want to know about civilian waste in the West Bank here is an article in it from the JP:

This gives you and idea of some of the problems but there is obvious International interest to stop it. What is worth reading is the bit at the end about South Hebron. I don't know for certain but I wouldn't be surprised if very poor bedouin communities, like Jabar's, go looking for just about anything in garbage including the civilian kind. I have cousins who are half Nigerian and they told me similar stories about that country's poor.
Under this thread, pls collect names of NGOs and are institutions (in Israel, OPT, international ) are following up on this topic.
Before we start Max, have you any thing done on that on your list?
Hi there Jafra. I do not have many eviromental groups on my list so not much time and energy will be wasted if people repeat what I have so far. I shall add a list shortly but first let me make a few points.

The best know of all these NGO’s is EcoPeace, the Middle Eastern branch of Friends of the Earth, which is a joint Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian organisation and can be found at

I must say that I think this thread will be a lot harder to deal with than the specific case of Jaber. The environment is a complex subject and it does not appear high on the list of either the Israeli government or the PA. This might be starting to change from what I read in the English language Israeli press but let’s face facts the whole issue is complicated by the conflict. In Oslo II a joint Israeli-Palestinian Environmental Experts Committee was set up but became meaningless at the start of the Intifada. It is difficult to campaign for recycling and other fancy middle class things when people are shooting each other so as I have written before let’s take the developmental issue and let’s to a certain extend, extract the polemic. For civilian case this is not difficult: The continual dumping by Israeli companies across the Green Line is wrong because it is damaging the health of the local Palestinian population and it is also illegal under Israeli law. This article shows reasons to be optimistic that this criminal use of Palestinian Areas will hopefully be brought to a stop: On the whole the issue appears to be rising in importance. Jaber al-Tumeizi, a Palestinian researcher and the coordinator for Palestine's farmer union, warns the toxic waste from Israeli industries would lead to gradual mortality and eco-disasters among the Palestinians due to toxic gases it emits and here in Britain the Jewish Chronicle has started running articles saying that when it comes to the environment and it effect on the local populations the Holy Land is a dump.
When it comes to issues of waste being dumped be Settlers (not the illegal outposts) I am less sure of where things stand. The ARIJ ( have campaigned on this issue for this waste is clearly damaging the health of the local Palestinian population but to what degree there is malice in this I am not sure. This could be for all I know a lack of proper infrastructure. In South Hebron there are many cases of Palestinian crops and livestock being damaged with use of poisons as well as assaults on the local population but these are the actions of individuals not the Israeli government. Such actions are well document by Ta’ayush ( and others. The recent campaign ‘Shooting Back’ by B’Tselem have led to successful prosecutions in some cases. But in all this the Israeli government’s crime appears it lack of interest or inability to apply it own laws.
When it comes to the specific claims of the Dr. Mahmoud Sa'ada I am much less sure. To start with what specifically are the accusations? Are we talking here about negligence or deliberate attempts to damage the livelihood of the Palestinian people? If it is the latter then Israel is again breaking it own laws – nothing more than it Basic laws which were laid down at the establishment of the Jewish state. These are of course frequently overruled by the security issue but I find it hard to believe that such an argument would carry here. So we are left with either negligence or conspiracy. Negligence there is plenty of. The area of South Hebron were Jaber was likely injured is a planned nature reserve (again another Oslo II idea which led to nothing) and the vast closed military zone in that area is right next to it. How depressing it that?
So what of the conspiracy? According to the Syrians Israel is dumping Nuclear waste in the Golan heights:


This I am sure is illegal under Israeli law (again the Basic Laws) but it hardly amounts to some fancy plan to poison Palestinians. Israel could achieve a lot if it started respecting it own laws and the same is true of the PA.

Stricter Enforcement against Illegal Waste Disposal in Judea and Samaria
Updated: 06/03/2008

The Israeli Civil Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection are taking steps to mitigate the problem of illegal waste disposal in unauthorized sites in Judea and Samarea. On June 1, 2008, a strict enforcement program targeted at offenders was initiated in the region.

Unauthorized landfills constitute a major environmental hazard, with negative impacts on water sources, land resources and open space, biodiversity and air quality. The problem is especially severe in the Judea and Samaria area, where dozens of unauthorized dumpsites present hazards to both Palestinians and Israelis. Moreover, offenses related to the illegal disposal of waste in this area have increased by 340% in the past three years.

The head of the Civil Administration, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, has recently signed an order prohibiting the entrance of waste from Israel to unauthorized sites in Judea and Samaria. The order stipulates that the entry of waste into the region requires a permit from the environmental staff officer in the Civil Administration. A vehicle caught at crossing points bringing waste to the area without the requisite will be liable to enforcement procedures, including seizure of the vehicle and collection of fines.

In addition, the head of the Civil Administration signed an order which prohibits odor and air pollution nuisances, including the burning of waste.

To date, enforcement against offenders of the law could only be carried out during the perpetration of the crime, thus significantly limiting the efficacy of any action to eradicate the phenomenon. Nevertheless, the Civil Administration did carry out dozens of enforcement and inspection procedures in 2007 against offenders, within the limits of resource and legal restraints. In light of the new reality, all forces working in the area will be trained prior to taking action to implement the new order in the most optimal way possible.

According to Environmental Staff Officer Benny Elbaz, the enforcement program will be implemented by the inspection unit of the Civil Administration and the Green Police of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, in cooperation with other forces in the area. "On the planning front, in addition to the three recognized landfills in the area today ? Tovlan in the Jordan Valley, Zharat el Finjan in Jenin and Abu Dis in the Jerusalem region ? we are promoting the establishment of three more landfills in the Ramallah, Hebron-Bethlehem and Jericho regions, with funding from different international organizations," says Elbaz.

Elbaz further points out that in 2007 - 2008, major funds were invested in the rehabilitation of three dumpsites in the Judea and Samaria area. The Civil Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection intend to continue to rehabilitate additional sites, in some cases with the aid of the international community. Over the past three years, the World Bank has rehabilitated some 90 illegal dumpsites in the Jenin area, within the framework of the Zaharat el Finjan project, in coordination with the Civil Administration.

Within the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in Washington in September 1995, Article 12 deals with environmental protection. Inter alia , the agreement calls for the two sides to act for the protection of the environment and the prevention of environmental risks, hazards and nuisances including all kinds of soil, water and air pollution. The interim agreement also calls on both sides to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessment shall be conducted for major development programs, including those related to industrial parks and other programs. In order to implement these and other environmental provisions specified in the agreement, both sides have established an Environmental Experts Committee for environmental cooperation and understanding. The aim of the joint committee is to solve environmental problems and initiate joint action programs
for environmental improvement.

Thanks for this Neri.

The link doesn't work for me but I have found it here (English) but this has faults as well. Is this the same with the Hebrew version?



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