Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan slammed Defense Minister Ehud
Barak for failing to connect most of the 150 IDF bases and camps to the
country’s sewage systems, two years after the government approved plans to do
so, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced on Tuesday.
is disregarding the government decision and bases continue to pollute water and
land resources,” Erdan said in a statement released by his
Government Decision #1770 in June 2010 stipulated that 191 army
bases and camps would be connected to the sewage networks, with 150 of these
sites being connected in the first stage of implementation, the minister’s
letter said. To date, however, only 15 of these bases have been connected to
sewage infrastructure, and severe pollution is still emanating from many,
according to Erdan.
“[What] if the IDF was operating at this pace when it
came to purchasing of weapons?” Erdan said. “The government already understood
that water and land sources are no less important, because otherwise there would
be nothing here to defend. The Defense Ministry has yet to reach this insight it
Meanwhile, the letter charged that only 11 of the 150 first-stage
camps and only 19 of the total 191 were located in Judea and Samaria, leaving
about 40 additional bases in the West Bank region untended. None of the 11 Judea
and Samaria bases slated for connection have been as of yet, although the
groundwater in this region is incredibly sensitive to contamination, Erdan
The contamination created as a result is an environmental
disturbance that causes both the Jewish and Palestinian populations in the area
to suffer, he added.
Erdan therefore demanded that the Defense Ministry
present its work plan for all 150 bases on the preliminary list, plus the seven
additional bases in the West Bank, so that all 18 sites in that region would be
Due to the urgency to reduce sewage contamination
in Judea and Samaria, Erdan wrote that officials in his ministry have already
checked with Civil Administration representatives to determine the feasibility
of the job. In response, the representatives informed his officials that
connection to sewage infrastructure at the bases is permitted as long as there
is an organized plan and financing – which is being supplied by the
Environmental Protection Ministry, according to Erdan.
in his policies against settlements in Judea and Samaria and delays connection
of IDF bases in Judea and Samaria based on budgetary excuses, even though the
program is budgeted,” Erdan said.
Replying to the Environmental
Protection Ministry’s allegations, the Defense Ministry said that connections
have already occurred at 35 different bases and camps, and that the ministry has
already conducted widespread infrastructural surveys at 173 sites.
office is currently in the process of negotiating connections for additional
bases and camps to the sewage network, according to a statement from the Defense
Ministry. An estimation from Defense Ministry staff predicted that all
connection work would be concluded, as agreed upon in the decision, by
“The Defense staff is working tirelessly to connect the IDF bases
and camps to the sewage systems and will meet the five-year target [to 2015], as
defined in the plan that was formulated in full coordination with the
Environmental Protection Ministry and was approved by the government of Israel,”
the Defense Ministry said.