A few weeks ago, it was revealed that the Palestinian Authority was planning to build a cement factory at the heart of a nature preserve in the Judaean Desert. The news came from local Bedouins who had run into surveyors who were measuring the site in preparation for the construction.
According to a report in Kippa, the Bedouins physically blocked the surveyors, who called the PA Police, and only an IDF intervention prevented what would have become a bloodbath.
Following that incident, Moshe Seville, Acting Head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, and Yossi Levitt, a local agricultural entrepreneur, met with the head of the local Rashaida tribe and listened to his and his people’s concerns regarding the planned factory. The tribesmen warned that it would harm the nature preserve, create massive pollution of the environment and cause illness in the tribe, especially the children.
Seville agreed that the new factory would have an environmental impact that would cause an irreparable damage to the entire area. He even predicted that the spilled waste from the factory would turn the Dead Sea gray.
The Rashaida leaders said they had already contacted their fellow tribesmen in Jordan, and the Hashamite Kingdom has already been acting to prevent the damage to the sea. One tribesman told Seville that he can’t understand how environmental organizations which normally raise hell at the slightest damage to nature preserves have kept mum in this case. He added that for him the Judaean desert is as sacred as Mecca, and he would never accept it destruction for the sake of making money.
According to Seville, the meeting concluded with a resolution to fight together to prevent the looming environmental disaster, and enlist the support of everyone involved, including the defense and the environmental protection ministers, the heads of neighboring councils, and anyone else who is concerned about the future of the Dead Sea, before it’s too late.David Israel