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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TELAVIV2486
2005-04-20 13:08:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  

LEGAL OPINION REQUESTED ON ISRAELI GARBAGE DUMPING

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002486 

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/IPA, NEA/RA AND L/NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2015
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL SENV KWBG IS ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: LEGAL OPINION REQUESTED ON ISRAELI GARBAGE DUMPING
IN THE WEST BANK

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Gene A. Cretz, reasons 1.4 b and d.

This is an Embassy Tel Aviv - Consulate General Jerusalem
joint message.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002486

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/IPA, NEA/RA AND L/NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2015
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL SENV KWBG IS ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ISRAELI PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: LEGAL OPINION REQUESTED ON ISRAELI GARBAGE DUMPING
IN THE WEST BANK

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Gene A. Cretz, reasons 1.4 b and d.

This is an Embassy Tel Aviv - Consulate General Jerusalem
joint message.


1. (C) Summary: Media reports of plans for large-scale
dumping of Israeli garbage on the West Bank have raised
questions about the legality of such waste sites under both
Israeli and international law. The Palestinian Environmental
Quality Authority will ask that the issue be placed on the
agenda for the May 2 meeting of the Israeli-Palestinian
Environmental Experts Committee. Both sides have agreed to
address the possible implications for the shared Mountain
Aquifer within the Joint Water Committee. Israeli officials
say that dumping has been halted at the major site
highlighted in the recent media reports, but may resume there
under controlled conditions. Posts request Department legal
opinion on the legality of such dumps under international
law. End summary.


2. (U) Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" ran a front-page, above
the fold story, April 4 under the headline, "Israel to Dump
10,000 Tons of Garbage a Month on the West Bank." The
article reported that Israeli entrepreneurs planned to use
the Kedumim (Abu Shusha) quarry, located between the Kedumin
settlement and Nablus as a site for garbage waste from the
Dan and Sharon regions of Israel. The paper suggested that
the dump could harm the shared Mountain Aquifer and
Palestinian water wells in the area because some of the
garbage could include household trash and other organic
materials. The article also questioned whether Israeli
authorities had approved the site for waste disposal and
quoted a Member of the Knesset and former Minister of
Environment as saying, "We are dealing with a double crime.
On the one hand, Israel is preventing the Palestinians from
making use of the quarry and its resources, and in exchange
we're giving them Sharon's garbage. I believe this is a

violation of international treaties."


3. (C) Minister of Environment Shalom Simhon told NEA Senior
Advisor for S&T Charles Lawson April 6 that dumping at the
site had been halted but might resume under regulated
conditions. The Minister and an MFA official cited Civil
Authority attorneys as saying that the dump did not violate
international law. In the meantime, an April 4 article from
the Palestinian News Agency quoted Palestinian Environmental
Quality Authority (EQA) Chairman Dr. Yousef Abu Safiyeh as
saying that Israel was "..silently killing the Palestinian
people through their pollution of the Palestinian
environment."


4. (C) At the April 7 Trilateral Water Talks, Shaddad Attili,
an attorney with the PLO's Negotiations Support Unit, raised
the issue of the dump. The Israeli Water Commission and the
Palestinian Water Authority agreed to discuss possible
implications for the shared Mountain Aquifer in the Joint
Water Committee. Grisha Yakubovich, an IDF officer with the
Coordination Office for Government Affairs in the Territories
(COGAT), told the trilateral group that dumping had been
halted in November and that an investigation was underway.
When ESTH Officer asked Yakubovich, after the trilateral
talks ended, about a "report" on the investigation, he
replied that General Mishlev would be willing to give the
Ambassador a verbal report when they next met, noting that
some of the legal issues were "sensitive."


5. (C) Abu Safiyeh told Lawson, April 10, over the phone that
he was going to request that the issue of solid waste dumping
in the West Bank and Gaza be added to the agenda for the May
2 meeting of the Israeli-Palestinian Environmental Experts
Committee, along with the issue of wastewater flows from
Israel into Gaza. MFA Water Issues Director Yaacov Keidar
told ESTH Officer April 12 that both issues were legitimate
and should be taken up at the May 2 meeting.


6. (C) The Kedumim dump story has raised concerns among both
Israelis and Palestinians, reportedly including PM Sharon and
VPM Shimon Peres. Haaretz highlighted April 12 that several
hundred protesters demonstrated against the proposed plan on
April 11 in the West Bank village of Dir Saraf. The Hebrew
version of the original Haaretz story included a quote
attributed to the Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court
stating that the Hague Conventions say military commanders of
occupying powers are not entitled to take national, economic
or social interests of their own countries into account, to
the extent that they have no implications for their security
interests or for the local population's interests.


7. (C) Action request: Embassy and Consulate General request
an opinion from L/NEA on the legality of such garbage dumps
under international law. End action request.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
CRETZ