Al Jazeera reporter
Occupied Jerusalem – People in Al-Issawiya town won't wake up Jerusalem – Especially those who live in the suburbs – not only will they see the wall distorting public space and separating them from the town of Anata and the Shuafat refugee camp, from now on they will also live with trucks unloading Amid the noise they had a recently built landfill filled with garbage a few meters from their home.
Plans for the settlement project, first proposed in 2012, include the establishment of garbage dumps in a 520-dunum area owned by Jerusalemites in the towns of Al-Issawiya and Anata. After collective objections were submitted, the plan was proposed again in 2022, covering an area of 410 dunams.
Residents have once again raised objections and, with the help of the Jerusalem Civil Union for the Defense of Palestinian Rights and the Association of Planners for Planning Rights (Bimkom), a new plan was recently released to reduce the size of Jerusalem’s landfills to One fifth, covering 109 dunums.
Environmental damage and impact
Hani Al-Issawi, a member of the Al-Issawiya town residents’ civil council, told Al Jazeera that residents fought to completely destroy the project, but they only succeeded in reducing its size.
He added that the reasons for the objections were, on the one hand, the damage caused by the construction of the landfill in terms of land acquisition, and on the other hand, the environmental impact and noise caused by the trucks and machines transporting the garbage. On the other hand decompose solid waste.
Al-Issawiya said opposition to the settlement project was not limited to landowners, but residents of surrounding communities were also involved because of the project's close proximity to residential areas, where 130,000 people live in the Shuafat refugee camp and its five communities. Jerusalemites, in addition to 22,000 people living in the town of Al-Issawiya.
Making matters worse, Isawi said, the project was originally planned as a site to receive waste generated from settlement construction projects and leftover Israeli housing units.
reject the Palestinian plan
Al-Issawi said: “We are not the ones causing this waste, but we are forced to receive it on our land, so the valley is buried with construction waste and then becomes a park when it becomes level with the street. This waste The landfill was proposed after settlers objected to the creation of a landfill near the settlement “Neve Ya'akov”. The landfill was closed after the objections and moved “near us”.
Although the people of Al-Issawiya took the initiative to prepare and submit a structural plan for the town and annexed the land located in the landfill area, the plan was rejected on the grounds that it was impossible to build a road to the area. However, according to Al- Issawiya said the landfill plan now includes building a tunnel for garbage trucks to pass through.
This is part of Israel’s racist policy in the city of Jerusalem, as the residents of Isawiya are now deprived of the right to urban expansion on their land because of this dump.
According to Al-Issawi, the total land area of the town is 10,470 dunums (one dunum = one thousand meters), of which residents only live on 1,040 dunums, and the total area of the town they control is only 3,500 dunams.
Occupying the town is either the settlement on the side of the French Hill, settlement projects and institutions such as the Hebrew University building and Hadassah Hospital (Issawiya Branch), or the bypass streets. Now a garbage dump is being built on its north side, tightly surrounding and suffocating it.
Experts say: settlement Khalil Tufakji said one of the accusations raised during the opposition phase was that the project would lead to the evacuation of Bedouin communities living in the area and that the confiscation of land was a measure that violated international law.
Tafakji added in an interview with Al Jazeera that the plan has political objectives, as the Israeli authorities do not want Palestinians to live in the area because they want to clear it of Palestinians so that streets can pass through the place to connect the suburbs of the city of Jerusalem. The settlement is connected to the settlement within the city.
The garbage dump area should become a natural extension of the street, an open space after the valley is filled with construction waste, be transformed into a park, and be listed as a nature reserve and inviolable. future.
Efrat Cohen-Bar, architect and director-general of the Bimkom Association, said in a previous press statement: “The excess dirt generated by Israeli community development projects is like a finger to the residents of East Jerusalem Punctures in the eyes, they're not getting services entirely through these programs.”
She added in the statement that it is not right to plan such a pollution site on private Palestinian land, where the state severely restricts development and construction in Palestinian communities, where the only waste generated is the result of demolished houses. East Jerusalem.