For years Israelis on both sides of the Green Line have suffered from air pollution emanating from within the Palestinian Authority, as Arab residents burn garbage to dispose of their waste, and produce and burn charcoal.
The Israeli government has done little to ameliorate the problem, despite the sometimes severe health problems it can cause to Israelis living downwind.
That may be about to change, however, if MK David Amsalem’s (Likud) efforts bear fruit.
Amsalem, who chairs the Knesset’s Interior and Environmental Protection Committee, has pledged to put an end to what he has dubbed the “silent murder” of Israelis by the Palestinian Authority.
“Stop breathing for a few moments,” Amsalem wrote in a Facebook post, “and imagine what it must be like for 200,000 [Israeli] residents of Hadera, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, the Menashe region, Harish, and other surrounding areas who struggle to breath all day every day, all year round because of the strong charcoal smoke that reaches them from the Palestinian Authority.”
For more than a year now MK Amsalem has raised the issue in committee and with various government ministries, but has found few willing to cooperate in the effort.
“What really infuriates me,” Amsalem continued, “is the fact that the cut trees that are used for producing the charcoal are purchased from Israeli farmers, but we, the citizens [of Israel] ‘buy’ the charcoal that poisons have the state. But I promise that during the current Knesset session that I will put an end to this terrible status quo that rules over every good part of our country.”
Amsalem went on to compare the effects of regularly inhaling the smoke to rocket fire by Arab terrorists.
“The only difference is that we have no ‘Iron Dome’ [missile defense system] against this quiet, deadly missile, and the smoke kills people. We need to remove both of these threats quickly and completely.”
“Just as we cannot accept rocket fire on Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, or Gedera, we absolutely must not accept the ecologic terrorism from the Palestinian Authority which seriously affects the health of residents in Harish, Hadera, and the Menashe region.”
To end the charcoal pollution, Amsalem pledged to “halt the flow of trucks bearing charcoal,” and to “issue a ban on purchase of charcoal from [Arab producers in] Judea and Samaria in the rest of Israel,” along with increased enforcement of existing laws over the Green Line.