Israel is to start dumping 10,000 tonnes of rubbish in the West Bank every month in a move which poses a serious threat to the main Palestinian water sources, the Haaretz daily reported Monday.
The move contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international treaties which prohibit Israel, as an occupying power, from making use of the territory unless it benefits the local population, it said.
But dumping the waste in the northern West Bank looks set to do just the opposite, with environmental experts telling Haaretz the dump will compromise one of the largest freshwater sources in the region, the Mountain Aquifer.
In the last few days trucks and bulldozers have been covering the floor of an old Palestinian quarry near the northern city of Nablus with soil to transform it into a dump, the paper said.
The refuse is being transferred from a huge region of Israel stretching along the Mediterranean coast from Tel Aviv northward to Netanya, it said, although construction of the dump site has not yet been approved by the environment ministry.
Haaretz said using the West Bank rather than Israel was much cheaper, adding that the waste would be transported by a private Israeli company DSH to the quarry known by Israelis as Kedumim and to Palestinians as Abu Shusha.
The site is being turned into a dump by Baron Industrial Park, a company jointly owned three regional Jewish settlement councils including the Kedumim municipality which is run by the extreme right-wing mayor Daniella Weiss.
Israel's civil administration for the West Bank has called for the building to be halted, the paper said.
There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.