The International Middle East Media Centre reported in May 2011.
Sewage and wastewater from the Israeli settlement of Ariel, the largest settlement in the West Bank, has polluted the Palestinian village of Bruqin, which sits adjacent to the settlement.A Friends of the Earth Scotland delegation observed the same continuing practice in August 2012, corroborating what we had witnessed near Bethlehem on a church pilgrimage in October 2011.
Ariel is constructed on hilltops and its wastewater is frequently directed away from the settlement onto the land of nearby Palestinian villages. This is a common occurrence in a number of Israeli settlements, which are constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Currently, Israeli settlements and military encampments control 70% of the West Bank's water, leaving the Palestinian population with little water to drink, and downstream of Israeli settlers' wastewater runoffs.
Palestinians have also accused a number of Israeli settlements of purposely directing wastewater and raw sewage onto their farmland and homes, in an attempt to contaminate the property and render it uninhabitable, thus forcing the Palestinian residents to leave.
In the current incident, the sewage was directed from Ariel settlement directly toward the land of Bruqin village, and has contaminated farmland and groundwater in an area of several kilometers around the village.
All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations onto land seized by military force. Currently around 500,000 Israeli civilians and military personnel live on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that was seized by Israeli military force during the 1967 war.
Waste is another political tool used by the Israeli occupiers. The settlement of Ariel dumps liquid waste – sewage and industrial – onto Palestinian water-courses and agricultural land, making the contaminated and unworkable land easier to confiscate. In Qalqilia we saw the great mound of solid waste from 20 years of unregulated dumping of Israeli industrial and chemical waste. We heard how the toxins from this waste are leaching into the water used by nearby Jayyous and Azzun, with the resultant risk to the health of their inhabitants.In June 2012, The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) published a report entitled,
Israeli settlements are also a major cause of environmental pollution in the West Bank as untreated and unregulated wastewater is allowed to flow from the settlements. The amount of domestic wastewater generated annually by almost half a million Israeli settlers living in the West Bank amounts to 54 MCM per year (ARIJ, 2008). This is more than the annual amount of wastewater generated by the 2.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, a result of excessive water consumption by Israeli settlers.Read the full report here.
Israeli sources state that only 81 of 121 settlements in the West Bank are connected to wastewater treatment facilities. Therefore unconnected settlements discharge 5.5 MCM of raw wastewater which flows down the settlement hilltops polluting wadis and Palestinian agricultural lands (Cohen et al, 2008, B’Tselem, 2009). This is the case in Salfit where local residents have witnessed contamination of agricultural lands and water resources, and have contracted serious diseases including cases of cholera. Barqan settlement, near Salfit’s Qana Valley, has the largest industrial complex of the Israeli settlements and waste from industrial activity is dumped in sites surrounding Salfit. In November 2011, wastewater from Revava settlement near Salfit completely destroyed 20 olive trees and flooded a further 100 trees in Palestinian land surrounding the settlement (WAFA, 2011)
On 8th September 2012, the Ma'an News Agency reported 24 children admitted to hospital after drinking contaminated water
See also The impacts of electronic waste disposal in the occupied Palestinian territory
Download a factsheet entitled Israel, Palestine and the Environment produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.