The Dead Sea 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ahead of the cabinet’s vote on Sunday about MK Dov Henin’s comprehensive Dead
Sea rehabilitation bill, activist groups are banding together to promote an
online petition that aims to secure the salty body’s future.
about two weeks ago in a joint effort of global web activist group Avaaz, Adam
Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and Friends of the Earth
Middle East, the petitioners intend to rally the public to convince the relevant
ministers to change their original votes, according to the organizers. As of
press time, online petition signatures had reached 15,182.
“The vote on
Sunday is a battle between public and environmental interest and the economic
interest of tycoons,” said Raluca Ganea, a consultant from Avaaz. “Public
pressure can change the results of the vote on Sunday.”
The bill, which
was initially rejected by the cabinet by one vote about a month-and-a-half ago,
was drafted by Adam Teva V’Din, and provides mechanisms for preserving the Dead
Sea’s natural resources, curbing the plunging water levels in the northern basin
and arranging a new management system to govern mineral extraction. This second
vote comes after agreements that Israel Chemicals would fund 80 percent of the
salt harvest in the southern basin, and a rise in the company’s royalties duties
from 5 to 10%.
The comprehensive bill, however, would focus on a much
wider scope and would require companies to repair all damage they have caused to
the sea, at risk of losing their contracts if they do not repair the damage,
according to its drafters.
“Support of the law from the ministers would
testify to their real and uncompromising commitment to right past wrongs and to
ensure the survival of the Dead Sea as a rare natural treasure,” Adam Teva V’Din
Executive Director Amit Bracha said.