BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities raided a charcoal factory in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin on Thursday morning over the air pollution caused by the factory.
The head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Yoav Mordechai, had previously warned the Palestinian Authority (PA) that Israel would raid the factory, located in the town of Yaabad, if the polluting smoke it produced was not eliminated.
During the raid, Israeli forces confiscated equipment and wood, and declared the road connecting Yaabad to eastern villages as a military post, the public relations department of Jenin reported.
A spokesperson for COGAT, which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government's policies in the occupied West Bank, told Ma’an that “the Civil Administration applied an enforcement in Area B against charcoal pollution in northern Samaria,” using the Israeli term for the northern West Bank.
“The decision to carry out this enforcement was made to protect the environment and reduce and cease the pollution, after numerous attempts over the past years to find solutions to the issue of charcoal pollution...due to lack of cooperation from the Palestinian side,” the spokesperson said, adding that high levels of nearby residents suffered from respiratory problems.
The spokesperson confirmed that “tools and equipment were seized, including 160 tons of wood, which is used for the charcoal production, to prevent further production.”
Jenin district Governor Ibrahim Ramadan condemned all Israeli procedures to obstruct Palestinians from making their living, noting that Yaabad’s economy depends heavily on the coal factory.
“Israeli policies of confiscating lands and imposing tightened measures against Palestinian people will only strengthen our determination to keep our lands and achieve our national goals,” Ramadan said.
Palestinians whose livelihoods depended on the coal factory called on human rights organizations to intervene and stop Israeli obstruction of their businesses.