In the month that has passed since Regavim exposed the massive garbage dump created by the Ramallah municipality under cover of the corona shutdown of Israeli enforcement forces, there’s no news to report – which is bad news indeed for the environment.

Taking advantage of the furlough of Civil Administration inspectors, the Arab municipalities saved themselves the time and expense of proper waste treatment and disposal, and turned the lives of the residents of the surrounding communities – Jewish and Arab alike – into a living nightmare. During the few short weeks of the government shutdown at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, a massive, illegal garbage dump sprang up in an abandoned quarry near the Sha’ar Binyamin Commercial Center. Thousands of cubic meters of refuse, carted directly from Rallah and El Bireh, were unceremoniously dumped by a never-ending convoy of Palestinian Authority trucks, creating a foul stench, water pollution and an eyesore that defiled the landscape.

This morning, Regavim released real-time video documentation of the current situation at the site. Despite Regavim’s repeated complaints to the relevant authorities alongside publication of this shocking law-enforcement failure, no action has been taken to address this blight – and weeks have gone by since the corona-crisis furloughs and closures were lifted.

To make matters worse, the area near the dumping site has seen repeated incidents of garbage incineration, apparently in an effort to reduce the enormous quantity of garbage that has accumulated there in recent months. The fires only add to the pollution caused by this pirate “waste removal” enterprise, operating without oversight or adherence to environmental and health protocols.

According to Regavim’s calculations, under the very nose of the Civil Administration more than 10,000 cubic meters of garbage have been dumped illegally since the start of the corona crisis. “The quarry is located in a very central spot on Route 60, the main traffic artery in the region; it’s visible from almost every angle along the route,” said Regavim’s spokesperson. “We find it implausible that the Palestinian Authority managed to hide thousands of trucks dumping garbage over the side of a cliff along a major highway for weeks on end. In other words, the authorities’ ‘blindness” is selective. They’ve chosen not to see what is happening here. But we haven’t resigned ourselves to this situation. We continue to hope that they will wake up, sooner rather than later, and put an end to this disgrace.”

Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Gantz said: “Arab eco-criminals are causing harm to our health and welfare and causing incomprehensible ecological damage to this delicate and important ecosystem. Enforcement bodies and the Civil Administration must pull themselves together immediately - enforce the law and bring these criminals to justice. I call upon Minister of Defense Beni Gantz, under whose jurisdiction the Civil Administration operates, to take command, to protect our natural resources and our health.”