Samar sand dunes protest_311.
(photo credit: Dov Greenblatt, Society for the Protection of Natu)
No more than a million tons of sand in the Samar sand dune can be mined, the
state instructed the Beersheba District Court, Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for
Environmental Defense) announced on Sunday.
RELATED:Samar sand mining slated to begin Samar contractor files complaint against green groups
A petition was filed a few
weeks ago in the Beersheba District Court by Tel Aviv University’s Environmental
Justice Clinic, representing Arava residents, in conjunction with environmental
advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din.
The petition claimed the Israel Lands
Authority had enabled extensive mining of about 2 million tons, in contrast to
an already approved plan that stipulated only half that amount was necessary. In
response, the court ruled in favor of the petitioners.
“The struggle for
the Samar sands achieved an unprecedented legal and environmental victory, in
which the state obligates itself to leave behind most of the Samar sands,
protected from the mining,” said Adam Teva V’Din executive director Amit
For months, protesters have attempted to stop the mining of the
sands, which are slated for construction use in the nearby city of Eilat. The
sands, environmental activists have argued, contain a unique island of flora and
fauna that are closer in genetic makeup to plants and animals of the Sahara
Desert than to those nearby in Israel. Objections have been so fervent that when
mining began last week, several Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNI)
protesters were detained and arrested for physically blocking the tractors from
The Beersheba court’s decision, according to both Adam Teva
V’Din and the Environmental Justice Clinic, will help protect further loss of
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“The uncompromising struggle and the steadfastness of the
residents and activists that fought against the mining is bearing fruit,” said
Nirit Lotan, an attorney for the Environmental Justice Clinic.
request that the court order the preparation of a mining plan that will ensure
the protection of the sands, as is required in the explicit terms of the
contract that was signed between the ILA and the contractor.”
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