Wild, Wild West Bank
A number of Israeli industries are dumping toxic waste in the West Bank, Palestinian officials charge, violating environmental agreements made in 1993 as part of the Oslo peace accords. Friends of the Earth Middle East, an Arab and Israeli environmental group, reported in December 1998 that there were at least 50 unauthorized hazardous waste dumps in the West Bank. Israeli law prohibits the disposal of toxic materials anywhere except at an authorized disposal area in Israel’s Negev desert, but some polluters avoid hefty fees at the disposal area by dumping waste in the West Bank. The Palestine cabinet is considering a law that would call for a life sentence for anyone caught smuggling hazardous waste into Palestinian areas.