Illegal quarries 'a ticking time bomb' waiting to explode

The ‘Green Israel Forum’ to MKs: 'Support regulation of the 'Wild West' in quarries in Judea and Samaria.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

A quarry (illustrative)
A quarry (illustrative)
Flash 90

The “Green Israel Forum” sent a letter to members of Knesset, government ministers, and deputy ministers, about the serious security issues arising from illegal quarries in Judea and Samaria. These quarries enable the smuggling of materials to pre-1967 Israel without any inspection.

In the letter, the Forum demanded illegal quarries in Judea and Samaria be regulated, since lack of examination of the materials from these piratic operations allows for smuggling.

The letter was, among others, sent to Economy Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu), Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (United Right), and other MKs from the Likud, Blue and White, United Right, Yisrael Beytenu, Kulanu, and United Torah Judaism. The letter contained an explanation of the Green Israel Forum’s work and a description of the lack of regulation that the group uncovered.

The Forum was founded in 2011 by graduates of IDF Special Forces Units who during their service were exposed to the many crimes against the environment taking place in Israel and the difficulties of the State in dealing with these crimes. The letter notes that the director of the Forum is the brother of an IDF soldier who died from cancer after diving in the Kishon River during his military service.

The description of the regulatory failures begins with an explanation of illegal quarries operating in Judea and Samaria: “We uncovered disturbing information that quarries in Judea and Samaria send hundreds of truckloads of materials each day from Area B to inside the Green Line without any inspection. A terrorist organization could easily smuggle materials in one of these trucks and no one would notice.”

The letter continues, “The law obligates every truck to be checked by a ‘security trustee,’ an individual who has been approved by the authorities to ensure that the truck contains only approved materials. When a ‘security trustee’ is not available, the law obligates that every truck be checked front-to-back at the checkpoint where it crosses the Green Line.”

However, during their undercover investigations, members of the Green Israel Forum found that these rules are not enforced, leading to a “serious security failure.” Members of the Forum attempted to transfer materials from Judea and Samaria across the Green Line inside trucks similar to those from quarries. Their attempts involved “hiding a dark bag in the back of an empty truck. They then tracked the truck throughout its journey as it passed the checkpoint across the Green Line and arrived at its location. At no time was the truck examined as required by law.”

The letter states, “At no point, neither at the checkpoint, nor any point along its journey, was the truck examined. This is a serious security failure that could allow for smuggling weapons, ammunition, drugs, and other items inside the Green Line.”

The Green Israel Forum highlighted the dangers from this security failure, “This is not a minor gap allowing some materials to be smuggled inside the Green Line, but rather has the potential to allow for a tsunami of smuggling. This danger should not be considered the specific concern of the Green Israel Forum or of one side of the political map. Rather this is a matter of the safety of the State of Israel, her citizens and her security procedures.”

The letter concludes with a request to MKs, “We call on you, the Members of Knesset, to work with all your power to join forces and support legislation to regulate the ‘Wild West’ taking place every day. Only thus can we prevent future terror attacks.”

The Legal Director of the Green Israel Forum, Attorney Tzur Polk said “We are certain that Members of Knesset will see the importance of this issue and join us in working to solve the serious security problem that we uncovered. This issue is a ticking time bomb that will explode in our faces if we don’t immediately deal with it.”