Yesterday, after a field tour with the “Shrinking the Conflict” organization, we found our car with a shattered windshield, a broken door, and a huge rock left on the road. Ironic, no?
As part of a tour that focused on environmental issues, we stopped near Route 465 in the Binyamin Region to get a closer look of the raw sewage that flows unchecked out of Bir Zeit and into the nearby streams, polluting the ground, the water, and the entire ecological system.
When we were about 20 meters from the cars, we noticed an Arab driver who braked and hurled an enormous rock toward our cars, shattering the windshield of Regavim’s field coordinator. This was an act of hatred and violence – and a sadly symbolic end to the tour.
Luckily, we weren’t sitting in the car when the rock was thrown or driving at speed. Sometimes people forget or are unaware of the daily reality in Judea and Samaria. For a long time, Judea and Samaria has been plagued with Arab terror of various sorts: rock attacks, molotov cocktails, knives, guns, and other forms of violence.
We’re not going to back down. We’re not afraid. We’ll continue to protect Israel’s land resources and to preserve Israeli sovereignty – throughout the Land of Israel. This is our one and only country. We refuse to give up on it.
As a result of our petition, a massive junkyard that was blighting the countryside and polluting the groundwater in the Binyamin region was cleared. Countless wrecks had been piling up for years at an illegal automotive scrapyard near Bir Zeit, polluting topsoil and groundwater with untreated effluents and automotive waste.
About eight months ago, we turned to the Civil Administration to demand the clearance of the illegal junkyard. But the Civil Administration tried to shirk their responsibilities, claiming that enforcement can’t be carried out at “junkyards on private lands”. This was a ridiculous claim and defies the law that explicitly gives the Civil Administration the authority to remove vehicle wrecks from “the public or private domain”. So we had to submit a petition to the Jerusalem District Court to give them a nudge.
And indeed, recently, the Civil Administration issued orders for the owner to clear all the vehicles and to restore the area within 30 days. In recent weeks, the owner removed hundreds, if not thousands, of the old cars and dismantled the illegal garage. We are hopeful that in the coming days and weeks the rest of the area will be cleared, and this environmental hazard will be lifted.
Automotive waste and untreated effluents that pollute the groundwater don’t distinguish between Jewish and Arab lands. Environmental abuse is not a right- or left-wing issue, and doesn’t stop at the Green Line. We shall continue to push for equal law enforcement throughout the Land of Israel, the protection of Israel’s land resources and the environment.