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SPNI: Save Palmahim beach
By SHARON UDASIN
12/28/2012
Environmental groups lead campaign to prevent extensive building plans, maintain natural coastline in area.
 
A few days before extensive building plans on the Palmahim coast return to the decision-making tables of the country’s planning institutions, environmental activists have turned to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in appeal.

The Society for the Protection of Nature is leading the campaign to save the beach and has drafted a form letter the public can send to Netanyahu and Erdan, asking them to keep their promises to maintain a natural coastline in the area.

Joining SPNI in the campaign – called Last Chance to Save Palmahim Beach – are other environmental organizations, including Green Course, Shatil, the Committee to Save Palmahim Beach, the Israeli Forum for the Preservation of Beaches and Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense).

The form letter is available on the campaign’s website, which is being run through an external site called HaSdera.

Efforts to rid Palmahim Beach of plans to build a leisure complex on its sands have been going on for years. In July 2010, green activists succeeded and the government decided to cancel the project.

“About two-and-a-half years ago (July 2010), through your leadership, the government made a historic decision to cancel the destructive building plans on Palmahim beach, leaving it natural for the public today and for future generations,” the letter says. “Despite the government’s decision and your crucial involvement, building plans on Palmahim Beach have not yet been eliminated.”

If the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) and the government fail to follow through on a commitment to compensate the contractor for canceling the project, the plans to construct the resort on the beach will once again come to the table of the district committee for planning and building, the form letter continued. “I appeal to you with a moral and public obligation, to realize the government’s decision and promise, and to act to bring the beach to the public, even before the elections,” the letter concludes.

By the end of the day on Thursday, the public had signed and emailed over 1,200 of the letters, according to the campaign’s website.

In response to the campaign, a government source told The Jerusalem Post that a compensatory agreement between the ILA and the contractor was already underway.
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