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.
Posted by Unknown at 9:55 AM