(photo credit: KRT)
A group of water experts from Israel, Italy and the Palestinian territories laid
a cornerstone for a waste-water treatment plant Wednesday in a Palestinian
village near Jericho called El-Uja, said water and environmental consultant
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At present, it was a symbolic gesture because the
funding for the plant has yet to be secured, he added.
But once it is
built, it will be a pilot for a project of setting up similar treatment plants
across the West Bank, he said.
The cornerstone ceremony was part of a
four-day workshop of experts this week that was sponsored by the Italian Trade
Commission, the Israeli Ministry of Regional Cooperation, the Peres Center for
Peace and the Arva Institute of Environmental Studies.
More than 65
percent of the population living under the Palestinian Authority lacks access to
a network that collects waste-water, according to data presented by the Italian
Trade Commission and the Arva Institute.
Most Palestinian domestic
waste-water is collected in pits or storage tanks, which allows for leakage that
seeps into the ground and contaminates the ground water. Budgetary and
bureaucratic restrictions have kept the PA from finding a solution, according to
the Italian Trade Commission and the Arva Institute.
Lack of proper
sewage treatment creates an environmentally risky situation for both Israelis
and Palestinians. It is also a source of tension between both parties, they