Palmachim Tomer Appelbaum
The site on Palmachim beach where a resort had been planned. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The Nature and Parks Authority has submitted new plans for developing Palmachim beach after plans to build a resort in the area were rejected. Under the new plan, part of the beach would be turned into a nature reserve and the adjacent sand dunes would become a national park.

Earlier this month, the Central District Planning and Building Committee rejected plans to construct a resort on the beach, under pressure from environmental activists, organizations and the Environmental Protection Ministry.

Even before the committee delivered its verdict, the authority had begun working on an alternative plan that would divide the area into three parts. The site of the proposed resort, under the new plan, would be turned into a national park containing the ruins of the ancient city of Yavne-Yam. More facilities for visitors would be installed on the actual beach, and the entire area would be serviced by parking lots capable of accommodating 2,000 vehicles. The southernmost part of the beach would be declared a nature reserve, and no construction would be allowed there. A promenade would run along the cliffs of the beach, linking the various archeological sites, which would be accessible to visitors.

The new plan was presented to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan several weeks ago. Authority members told the minister that as part of the plan, an entry fee might be charged and barriers might be erected to block vehicles driving illegally across the beach. They also said they would consider setting up a camping site for visitors. The Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva V'Din ), which actively opposed the original plan, welcomed the new plan.

The resort plan, it should be noted, has not been completely abandoned, the planning committee asking its authors to consider an alternative location. The resort would need to be far from the beach and to remain open to the general public, it said. The committee did not grant exclusive rights to the proposed resort to any particular company and did not address the question of compensation to the entrepreneurs who planned the resort in the original location and already paid tender fees to the Israel Land Administration and invested in planning.