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A Palestinian farmer sprays pesticide in a tomato field in the West bank village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, Sep. 9, 2012.

Environmental groups say that Israeli authorities are facilitating pollution and violating human rights in illegal Israeli settlements.

Israel has been facilitating the illegal trade and manufacturing of deadly pesticides within illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, according to a recent investigation. The use of pesticide has not only contaminated the local environment and food sources, but has led to serious human rights abuses, according to the report.

A number of highly toxic pesticides banned by the self-governing body, the Palestinian Authority, PA, are illegally traded into Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation, according to a fact-finding investigation by the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, APN, and the PAN Asia Pacific, PANAP.

While the PA has some of the world’s strictest pesticide regulations, it does not have access to the information on the chemicals that are made inside the illegal settlements. The investigation found that 50 percent of pesticides in Palestine were illegal and uncovered.

Dr. Meriel Watts from PANAP, said that Israeli authorities “knowingly facilitate the entry of banned highly hazardous pesticides into the Occupied West Bank.”

The investigation detailed how hazardous chemical waste is dumped on Palestinian territory often close to schools, and those living near Israeli industrial settlements in the West Bank report water and soil contamination and respiratory and eye diseases. Runoff from pesticide use and waste from chemical manufacturing has poisoned farms, livestock and the water supply within the illegal settlements.

Some chemical manufacturing companies are still operating inside the illegal settlements, but have been banned outside of the settlements because of environmental and health violations. The investigation said that the manufacturing companies and Israel were complicit in allowing the illegal pesticide trade and that Israel has prevented the PA from being able to enforce policies to regulate the trade and manufacture of hundreds of deadly chemicals.

“These activities have been found to violate Palestinians’ rights to information, self-determination, water, highest attainable standard of health and healthy environment, and livelihood,” a press release from PANAP read.

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“These human rights violations are perpetrated in the context of the Israeli occupation and expansion of the illegal settlements,” said APN founder Razan Zuayter.

All Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal under international law and activists and human rights groups have called for an end to the illegal settlements, a view supported by last year’s U.N. Security Council resolution vote.

 

 

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