Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan asked the Prime Minister Sunday to authorize Israeli action in "Areas B" under civilian Palestinian Authority control, against charcoal production sites that damage the health of tens of thousands of Israelis.
The charcoal production sites emit smoke that hangs in an ever-present cloud over the homes of residents of Zichron Yaakov, Pardes Hana, Mitzpe Ilan, Harish, and numerous other communities in the area – some of them Arab. Residents of the communities are exposed to grave health risks, including lung cancer.
More than 400 such sites currently operate in Areas B, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has thus far not taken action against them, despite requests by Israel to do so. Erdan wants the diplomacy-security cabinet to define the matter as one that affects security, thus making Israeli intervention possible. Israel is authorized to handle security matters in Areas B, while the PA has administrative control.
Charcoal sites that operated from Areas C, under full Israeli control, were shut down by Israel, but their operators appear simply to have moved them to Area B and continued to pollute the environment.
Since the customers who buy the charcoal are all in Israel, the Ministry is considering taking steps to prevent the sale of the charcoal produced in this way within Israel.