Thursday, 8 April 2010
Broqeen village - dump site for Israel's industrial waste
Yesterday i went to the small Palestinian village of Broqeen in the northern West Bank.
What is happening in the village provides a clear example of how Israel's drive to control land and resources means trampling upon the basic rights of Palestinians.
Ten years ago Israel constructed an industrial settlement near Broqeen. On this settlement they built the fifth largest factory in the middle east, producing plastic and carpets. The factory was not built in Israel because it's industrial waste might threaten the health of Israeli citizens. Instead it was built in the occupied territories, near the village of Broqeen and other villages, where the only people in danger are Palestinians whose rights don't count in Israel's calculations.
The waste from the industrial settlement is dumped into the stream which runs through Broqeen village. The Palestinian Ministry of health has declared that the levels of pollution in the stream are extremely dangerous to human health.
The villagers only source of water is from the village wells, but they are located near the stream and there is concern that they have become polluted as the stream water seeps through the ground.
The mayor of the village said that at certain times the unbearable smell from the polluted stream drifts through the village, attracting flies and dangerous insects. Deaths from cancer have increased. The village is still waiting for research to be completed which will assess the link between the pollution and deaths in the village, but the villagers own experience tells them that something is very wrong.
A German company offered to build secure pipes which would transfer the waste through the village, but Israel refused permission to build. From Israel's point of view permanent infrastructure for the Palestinians is to be avoided, as it strengthens the Palestinian claim of ownership over the land.