The High Court of Justice has issued a temporary injunction against quarrying a rare sand dune near Kibbutz Samar in the Arava.

The injunction, which the court issued on Sukkot eve in response to a petition by the Union for Environmental Defense, prohibits the start of quarrying the dune until November, when the High Court will hear the organization's case against the quarrying.

The Samar dune, one of the last remaining dunes in the Arava, is home to a rich array of flora and fauna. Its sand is to be quarried for fields in the Arava and as construction material for Eilat.

The Israel Lands Administration has so far refused all appeals by environmental groups in the southern Arava to examine alternatives to quarrying the Samar dune.

The Union for Environmental Defense petitioned the High Court after the Be'er Sheva District Court rejected its argument against the quarrying about 18 months ago.

The High Court noted that the required environmental impact study had not taken place before the local planning and building council approved the project, and that if quarrying began before the petition was heard, the damage might be irreversible if the petition was accepted.