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Desert’s Sand and Rocks Become Precious Resources in West Bank Dispute

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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:09 AM
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Desert’s Sand and Rocks Become Precious Resources in West Bank Dispute
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"Boulders the size of compact cars are carved out here at a vast quarry near Bethlehem and pushed noisily through grinders, producing gravel and sand that go into apartment buildings in this rapidly growing Israeli settlement and all across Israel itself.

The land of the West Bank is, of course, disputed. Israel occupies it, and the Palestinians want it for a future state. But more and more of it is gone — quarried by Israeli companies and sold for building materials, a practice that is the focus of a new legal challenge.

"Israel is transferring natural resources from the West Bank for Israeli benefit, and this is absolutely prohibited not only under international law but according to Israeli Supreme Court rulings,” said Michael Sfard, lawyer for the Israeli rights group Yesh Din, which is bringing the case to the high court next week. “This is an illegal transfer of land in the most literal of senses.”

Sand and rocks might seem like trivial resources in a country that is half desert. But with strict environmental restrictions on quarrying because of the noise and dust produced, they turn out to be surprisingly valuable. Building contractors are often caught in the Negev Desert stealing them by the truckload in the dead of night. A 2008 government study predicted a serious shortage of raw building materials within a decade.

So the 10 or so expanding West Bank quarries that are the focus of the legal challenge now account for nearly a quarter of the sand and gravel Israel uses, 10 million tons out of 44 million yearly. Palestinians are incensed and say that if there is ever to be a prospering Palestinian economy, control over their natural resources is essential.

"This is causing harm in a real way,” said Sam Bahour, a Palestinian entrepreneur and businessman in Ramallah. “It is an example of the way in which economic interests in Israel are perpetuating the occupation. It makes it so much harder to end.”

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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:29 AM
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1. the israeli government banned the the importation of concrete into gaza
and the israeli`s steal the raw materials from the west bank.....
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 12:19 PM
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2. Petition: Stop mining West Bank quarries
Human rights group petitions High Court for injunction against Israeli operations in quarries located in Palestinian territory, claims it violates international law

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3683535,00.ht...

<snip>

"The Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights group petitioned the High Court of Justice on Monday seeking both an interim order and an injunction against the operation of 10 Israeli-controlled quarries in West Bank.

The petition claimed that mining natural resources located on occupied territory and transferring them to for use of an occupying state, was de facto plundering and therefore in breach of international law.

The group further demanded that all mining activities be halted immediately and that no new mining permits be issued. These activities, said the petition, "are the manifestation of Israel's brutal financial exploitation of occupied territory in favor of its own interests."

Yesh Din further demanded IDF Central Command Chief Major-General Gadi Shamni and Head of the Civil Administration Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai enforce the said orders and ensure the "illegal mining across the west back stops."

The group also quoted from a brief compiled by the Interior Ministry, stating that the majority of the quarries operating in the West Bank were owned by Israel and Israeli businesses and catered solely to the Israeli market's needs.

The mining, added the petition, was therefore in breach of International law sections pertaining to occupied territories and human rights (article 42 of the Laws and Customs of War on Land) and may even be considered as pillaging."

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 02:38 PM
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3. Saudis 'fear sand shortage'
Saudi Arabia has reportedly imposed strict border checks to enforce a ban on the export of sand.

There are fears that the growing demands of the construction industry could lead to a shortage in the desert kingdom.

The Arab News newspaper reports that neighbouring Bahrain needs to import large quantities of sand for reclaiming land from the sea.

Demand is also expected to grow as the process of reconstruction in Iraq gathers pace.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3243623.st...
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