Monday, April 11, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Demonstration at the dump near Dir Sharef by kobi snitz 11 Apr. 2005

The people of Dir Sharef can smell the occupation when they drive out of the village. They can taste it in olives and in the water and breath it in when the wind blows from the quarry. Dir Sharef is a village of 5300 people in the Nablus district of Palestine. Today, for the first time, a demonstration was held against a new garbage dump which has been operating in the area for two years. The dump has recently received a lot of attention after a story in Ha'aretz exposed a plan to dump millions of tons of Israeli trash at the dump and that the dump does not meet environmental standards. See the story in Haaretz (in Hebrew)* The demonstration marched from the village towards the quarry where the dump is located. About 150 people from the village and from Nablus turned out and were joined by internationals and Israelis. The marchers did not have to get very far to see and smell the damage done. Along the side of the road is a fast flowing river of sewage that runs very close to the main water source for 300,000 people who live in Nablus and 13 surrounding villages. A Grant from the German government is available for a water treatment plant but the Israeli authorities prevent Palestinian construction in area C. The quarry itself generates large amounts of dust that are probably the cause of a large number of respiratory illness in the area. At the far end of the quarry is the dump. The site is under preparation but the dumping has already started. In addition to the sewage, the dump site is also located close to the aquifer. The Israeli infrastructure ministry has decided that the site is unsuited for household dumping but tons of household garbage is already dumped there. The dump site is chosen because it is cheaper to dump in Palestine but the dumping is not completely free. The settler regional council is charging the operators of the dump for the permission to use the site. Needless to say none of the proceeds will be used for the benefit of the Palestinians on whose land the dump is located.

Over the dump there is a mysterious factory which appeared a year ago. The factory is at an Israeli industrial area but is rumored to be Palestinian owned. Some people were of the opinion that the plant is used to recycle motor oil but that could not be verified at the site. The factory pours its waste down the hill towards the olive groves. A black smelly substance that the farmer says has made the olives inedible.

On the way back to the village an army jeep arrives. The soldiers are truly confused at the site of Israelis marching in Palestine. They wondered if we the Israelis have guards with them and were told that the only protection the Israeli activist require is from the soldiers themselves. This did not impress the soldiers who called for reinforcements and followed the marchers into the village in a provocation that could have ended badly. Throughout their incursion into the village the soldiers insisted that they are there for the protection of the Israelis. One of the Israelis present was Itai Levinsky who was shot in the eye last year by the IDF while at another demonstration. Like the other Israelis present he has had all the IDF protection he can stand...
* Media reported during the day that demonstrators try to prevent trucks from dumping garbage near Kdumim...
"About 200 people of: Anarchists Against The Wall, Green Action, and Palestinians, arrived at the garbage dump between Kdumim and Nablus. They are trying to provent the entry of garbage trucks arriving fro the Sharon region of Israel..."

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