The Palestinian town of Beit Ummar, in the southern West Bank, was flooded with sewage from a nearby settlement on Tuesday, according to local eyewitnesses and officials. Locals say that there is evidence the sewage was dumped on purpose by Israeli settlers.One local farmer said that he was farming his field near Kfar Etzion settlement on Monday night, and there was no contamination when he left his field to go home for the night. But sometime during the night, a sewage pipe from Kfar Etzion settlement was opened, flooding the land of a number of Beit Ummar farmers and destroying their crops.
Resident Ibrahim Odeh Sabarneh, whose land was flooded, told reporters with the Ma’an News Agency, “This is no coincidence, this is not the first time this has happened”. The flooding of the village land with sewage comes one year after a similar sewage flood in the same area, when sewage from Gush Etzion settlement flooded all over Sabarneh’s land.
While the Israeli government claimed, in last year’s incident, that the sewage flood was an accident due to the failure of a pumping station in the settlement, no Palestinians were ever compensated for their losses due to the sewage dumping. No statement has been made by the Israeli government on Wednesday’s incident.
Many Palestinian villages and towns in the West Bank face the problem of sewage contamination from Israeli settlements, which are built on Palestinian land and frequently dump their sewage on surrounding Palestinian areas.
Beit Ummar has become the site of weekly anti-Wall and settlement protests in recent months, and have been targeted by Israeli military invasions on a regular basis. Settlers in the are have also stepped up their attacks against the Palestinians whose land they seized in order to construct the settlements.