Friday, September 20, 2013

Israeli chemical factories in the West Bank

On September 5th, 2013, an Israeli nylon factory exploded on the outskirts of Tulkarem, a Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank. This factory sits illegally in an industrial area built on confiscated Palestinian land. According to Abdelhadi Salman, who lives on the same street as the factory, approximately 330 feet away, Israeli firefighters only put out the section of the fire pointing towards other Israeli factories and that it wasn't until several days later that Palestinian firefighters were allowed to extinguish the rest of the fire that had already spread to Palestinian farmlands at that point. After the explosion, Palestinian inhabitants went outside to see what had happened and were met with tear gas from Israeli soldiers.

This is only a small part of what is really going on in this area. Palestinian people living in this area are constantly under heavy pollution from these Israeli chemical factories. The fumes and waste from these factories has a detrimental effect on farmland and more importantly, people’s health. A 2003 study conducted by An-Najah University in Nablus determined that Tulkarem has the highest rates of lung cancer in the West Bank. People living in this area commonly have respiratory issues, pneumonia, eye inflammations, and constant coughing. Wastewater flowing from these factories also plays a major role in the depletion of essential nutrients from the soil, forcing farmers to use unnatural amounts of fertilizer. The factories are open almost 24 hours a day and only close on days when the wind is blowing towards the Israeli side of the wall.

Aside from the pollution caused by these factories, there are also issues with the working conditions. Palestinians that work in these factories are not eligible to receive minimum wage and not only are Palestinian trade unions not allowed to access the area, but laborers are also not permitted to join Hisdarut, Israel’s official trade union.

This situation clearly violates many human rights of the natives of the land and very little awareness has been raised. In fact, this is just one of the many human rights violations that is committed against the oppressed Palestinian people everyday.


  1. In sorry but I just went over a couple of blogs, and when i saw your blog it made me a bit sad. As an Israeli citizen I just want to show that Israel is not the bad guy as it is represented in your blog.
    So i thought i should get some facts straight. First of all the chemical factory you are talking about is not set on Palestinian land, it is actually set just against the wall that separates Palestine and Israel, so there is A wall between the factory and Palestine, furthermore the factories in this area employee over 600 Palestinian workers, who earn minimum wage! And about the fire, as soon as it broke 10 units of fire fighters were sent to handle it, after the fire fighters realized it won't be enough they called in another 14 fire fighter units from all over Israel, It took the fire fighters 10 hours to take care of the fire but there was no fire after that! By the way the area the factory is located is an industrial area called in Hebrew "ניצני שלום" which translates to "beginning of peace" this place symbolizes the effort both sides are making in order to coexist; this factories are run mostly by Israeli people but employees mostly Palestinian people. I hope this helps to clarify the situation a bit more

  2. Hmm. Adel - I don't see the link to your source. Where did you find it?

    1. Sorry I just saw this comment

    2. Ok, thanks. Looks like a terrible situation! Abuses of the environment can lead of course to abuses of human rights. Thanks for following up!

  3. "Israel is not the bad guys... "

    In what universe? I'm in Palestine right now reviewing the situation and suggestions of Israel's purity are risibly fallacious. If I took every bad thing I've read or watched about the situation in Palestine and searched for untruths I'd be lucky to find any. The situation is far worse than the presentation across all media and is a total disgrace to the international Jewry for allowing it to continue. And the PA is little more than a Palestinian profit group who have sold out the poor to the occupation for their own financial gain.

    The environmental situation in Palestine at all levels is horrific. I'm yet to see a single acceptable work practice beyond book reading!