Coal mines in northern Samaria
Coal mines in northern SamariaRegavim

Chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee MK David Amsalem (Likud) emphasized today that he will fight the issue of pollution from Palestinian coal mines until the issue is completely solved.

On his Facebook page, Amsalem wrote: “I am possibly reiterating myself on the issue of the coal mines, but nobody should be mistaken - I will not stop until the 200,000 residents of Hadera, Pardes Hanna, Karkur, Harish, Menashe Regional Council, and Samaria are breathing clean air. Ever since Harish Regional Council Head Yitzhak Keshet brought the subject to my attention, I am not taking it from my list of priorities until Israeli citizens are breathing clean air - exactly like the air that we breathe here in the Knesset in Jerusalem.”

“After we enforced protocols last month forbidding the transfer of logs to the PA (and including an unprecedented 7,500 fine for every illegally uprooted tree) with the intent of stopping the pollutive coal-burning, we will continue with full-force in the coming days with efforts to stop completely PA sales of coal inside Israel. In coming days, an additional meeting will be held to assess the advancement of additional suggestions, including legislation that will forbid coal imports from the PA to the State, concerted efforts of security forces inside the PA, and greater enforcement and stricter, more uncompromising penalties from all relevant government offices.”

He added: “Unfortunately, we are supporting the coal mines that are strangling complete communities and poisoning half of the country, and every day the question gnaws at me: ‘How many children have gotten sick this year while we were dealing with the problem?’”

Amsalem’s campaign against the coal mines, he went on to explain, includes a personal element: “The bureaucratic process in the State is unbelievable, and allows for this crisis to only get worse. Six years ago, I lost my wife, Rosie, who became sick with lung cancer caused primarily by air pollution. I carry this trauma with me every day, every hour, and the time has come that everyone internalize that we are dealing with quiet terrorism - fatal and destructive in its effects. The coal mines are worse and more dangerous than the Palestinian terror infrastructure; the fatal smoke doesn’t pass over anyone, and it kills us.”

Amsalem called for “each and every one of you to join me in this most important struggle and help to get it to the top of the public’s list of priorities. React, share, and don’t let up for a minute. Air - means our lives!”