Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Israeli settlement sewage spewing into Palestinian villages

Sewage from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank is seeping into nearby Palestinian towns and causing serious diseases, a health ministry official said on Tuesday.

At an environmental conference in the town of Salfit, the head of the health ministry described the situation as “intolerable” for communities near the settlements, with diseases breaking out among residents, including cases of cholera.

The waste emitted from factories in an industrial zone inside an Israeli settlement is also threatening the town's agriculture, according to Salfit's governor, Issam Abu Baker.

Abu Baker warned that dumping waste in 11 sites surrounding Salfit has become a major cause of cancer in the area.

Bargan settlement, located near Salfit's Qana Valley, has the largest industrial complex of all the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and continues to expand Jewish settlements in defiance of international law.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians on Monday night, including five teenagers, according to local and security officials.

Seven people were detained in the southern city of Hebron in the evening, after they were attacked by Israeli troops in a nearby area.

While in northern Hebron, Israeli soldiers clashed with residents of the town of Beit Ummar early Monday who opened fire at villagers and blocked the main entrance of the town, media spokesman of the popular committee, Mohammad Awad said.

Three people, including a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old were then arrested by Israeli troops, according to Awad.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said ten other Palestinians were detained overnight across the West Bank.

Israeli occupation forces impose tight restrictions on Palestinians and regularly arrest them in night raids and hold them in administrative detention.

Administrative detention allows the Jewish state to jail Palestinians without charge or trial for a period of up to six months, merely on suspicion of being a threat to the Israeli state.

The detention period can be renewed, effectively allowing Israel to hold Palestinians indefinitely, and detainees are not informed of the crimes they are suspected of committing.

Israel currently holds roughly 4,500 Palestinians, including 166 minors, in its jails.


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