18 November '16
Important government action was taken to protect the environment in the Middle East this week. But don't expect the government in question to get any credit—because it was the Israeli government that took the action, and the Palestinian Arabs who were the polluters. And the Palestinians, as we all know, are immune from international criticism.
The Israeli authorities repeatedly alerted the Palestinian Authority (PA), over the course of several years, about a charcoal factory in the PA-ruled city of Ya’bad that was causing serious air pollution in the area. The Israelis made it clear that if the PA did not act, Israel would have to intervene.
The primary victims of the Ya’bad pollution were, of course, the Palestinian residents of Ya’bad and nearby villages. Israeli officials even pointed out to the PA that the area's residents suffer a disproportionately high rate of respiratory problems because of the smoke. So you would think the PA would take action for that reason alone. But the PA has no interest in protecting the environment. So it ignored the Israeli warnings.
PA officials no doubt assumed—based on plenty of previous experience—that if Israel acted, then the State Department and J Street and The New York Times would accuse Israel of "intruding on Palestinian territory" and "driving Palestinian industrialists out of business." The PA also probably calculated that the various branches of the Green Party around the world are so locked in to a radical-left, pro-Palestinian worldview that they will never speak out against Palestinian pollution. And, so far, that appears to be the case.
Israel's patience with the Ya’bad air-poisoners was finally exhausted Wednesday. Israeli police shut down the factory and confiscated its production equipment.
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Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.
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