German Bank Vows to Bar Settlers From West Bank Landfill It's Planning

Government-owned development bank says landfill will only take garbage from Ramallah and El Bireh.

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West Bank settlements will not be able to dispose of their trash at a new landfill the government-owned German development bank KfW is planning in the area, its representatives said last week.

The landfill site, which the Civil Administration has proposed be built near the settlement of Rimonim and the Palestinian village of Kafr Ramun, will be an alternative to the landfilll at El Bireh near Ramallah, which the Civil Administration closed down on August 7 for reasons of severe environmental hazard.

The closed site had served the El Bireh municipality as well as the Binyamin Regional Council and the city of Modi’in Ilit. The Civil Administration suggested they use alternative sites in the West Bank, at Abu Dis or near Jenin in its stead.

The El Bireh municipality rejected this proposal, however, because of the high cost of trucking garbage to either of those sites.

Last week, at two days of meetings over objections held by the Civil Administration regarding the new landfill project and attended by KfW’s representatives, it emerged that KfW does not want settlements in the area to use the landfill. The reason given was that the site is for garbage from Ramallah and El Bireh only.

“Their motivation is political," a Civil Administration official told Haaretz. "The German government can’t invest in projects for the benefit of settlements, that’s clear.”

KfW is funding the landfill project at a cost of 15 million euros, of which 11 million are earmarked for construction and 4 million for operation.

According to Civil Administration documents, the facility would serve both the Palestinian and Jewish areas. The State Prosecutor’s Office presented similar documentation to the High Court of Justice in April 2011, in response to a petition by an environmental group in which it stated: “The Civil Administration explained that it is examining the request of the German government to move ahead a landfill project for the good of all residents of the region – Israelis and Palestinians.”

Both Israelis and Palestinians have objections to the plan, however. The site is an old-fashioned landfill where the garbage is not treated, of a type that is outlawed in Germany, which could be damaging to the environment. The Palestinians also oppose the plan because it would require the expropriation of land.

The German Embassy did not answer a request for a response.

Trash piling up in El Bireh.Credit: Emil Salman

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