The establishment of a new industrial zone east of Rosh Ha’Ayin and Kfar Qasim, in the area of the Sha'ar HaShomron and the Nahal Raba quarry, could have disastrous consequences for Israeli nature, a new report warned this week.
According to Avihu Sherwood, chairman of Israeli NGO For The Wildlife, "this is a plan that will cause irreparable damage to a sensitive area where an abundance of mammals, reptiles and birds live, including deer and other rare species. This is one of the highest quality natural areas in the center of the country.”
The establishment of the industrial zone is expected to create an impassable barrier that would cut off the national ecological corridor, which stretches from Israel's North to South, passing through the Sha’ar Shomron and Nahal Raba.
The ecological corridor is the minimum amount of open space necessary for wildlife and plants to survive and without it, they remain vulnerable to threats such as diseases and fires.
The large industrial zone would include offices, along with commercial buildings that would take up the space equivalent to nearly half the area of the central Israeli city of Kiryat Ono.
Hopes of halting the destruction
Environmentalists and professionals have stated that there is already a large number of industrial zones in the center of the country and that the addition of another would not only harm the Israeli environment but could economically harm neighboring cities.
According to Sherwood’s report, the plan was formulated without an in-depth examination of possible alternatives that would not cause such severe damage to nature and the environmental and ecological analysis done for the program was of poor quality.
NGO launches petition against new construction plan
For The Wildlife has called for an immediate halt to the plan and launched a petition against the plan.
“Instead of an unnecessary and wasteful industrial zone that will destroy vulnerable natural areas, one can consider the expansion of other industrial zones that will not cause serious and irreversible damage to nature,” the petition states.
The petition also states that if the establishment of a new industrial zone moves forward despite concerns about the environmental impact, then it is important to reduce the amount of damage that will be caused.