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Illegal Quarry in Gush Etzion

 

Regavim submitted a petition against the authorities responsible for law enforcement with a demand that the court direct them to halt the illegal operation of a quarry in the Gush Etzion area.  

Over three years ago, Regavim sent a letter to the Civil Administration and security forces with a request that they halt an illegal quarry in the Gush Etzion area.

The quarry in area 809 spreads out over nearly 250 ares of state land. The alnd was assigned to the Gush Etzion Development Corporation that was supposed to operate this site.

Four crime families from the nearby village of Beit Fajar took over the quarry, employing local villagers. This quarry has been operating for over ten years and the enforcement authorities have done nothing to halt this theft.

Besides the damage done to the rule of law caused by this audacious and crude criminal behavior in the light of day, the illegal excavation creates significant ecological harm. The environmental consequences are significant and blight the land, the view and natural resources. In addition, the quarry is a serious nuisance to the public as it creates pollution and dust in the vicinity.

Moreover, this failure the part of the authorities to act harms the very right to equality under the law. Throughout Judea and Samaria there are many quarries operating, owned both by Israelis and Palestinians. All of the authorized quarries are forced to abide by the demands of the law, requiring significant expense: planning costs, fees, licenses, supervision and other payments that reach the sum of millions of shekels. These quarries must operate within defined areas in order to minimize the environmental damage and maximize the effectiveness of excavation. In contrast, this unauthorized quarry operates without any of these constraints, and saves all the expense necessary to run a legal operation.

When Regavim realized that the authorities had no intention of enforcing the law, they petitioned the Supreme Court.

On September 21, 2010 the state informed the court that " no one argues about the fact that the operation of the quarry … not lawful." In addition, the state notified the court that "the Civil Administration has recently decided to take action and enforce the law in regarding excavation and quarrying in the area, and the relevant authorities have been instructed to assist in enforcement planned for the near future."

In the court session, the judges directed the state to update the court regarding enforcement of the law within four months. In accordance with this, the authorities notified the court in detail regarding their enforcement activities towards the quarry in this time period. The state notified the court that much equipment had been confiscated as well. These enforcement measures, according to the state, have led to the almost total halt to excavations at the site.

In a session that took place on July 27, 2011, the Supreme Court directed the state to provide it with an update within 90 days about which effective steps were taken in order to cease operation of the quarry.

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