In a meeting held this Tuesday, May 24 in Jerusalem, World Bank representative Mariam Sherman confirmed the Bank’s intention to support the establishment of the Hebron Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) at the cost of 45 million USD. The construction of the WWTP is expected to start in the beginning of 2012.
The World Bank will support the establishment of the Hebron WWTP by the Palestinian Authority, for the sum of 45 million USD, of which 10 million USD will be invested by the World Bank itself, and the rest by other contributors such as The French Development Agency.
The Hebron WWTP project has been stuck and delayed for almost a decade, despite several attempts by others. This is a very promising turn of events, which will affect the lives of many residents in both Israel and Palestine. The Hebron stream, which continues to the Be’er Sheva stream, is the longest cross-border stream in the region, touching the lives of many residents who live along its banks.
The meeting, held by Friends of the Earth Middle East, was attended by Israeli & Palestinian residents from communities along the Hebron and Be’er Sheva streams who suffer from its pollution: Hebron and Yatta (Palestine), Meitar, Omer and Tel Sheva (Israel). The residents expressed their suffering from the degrading condition of the Hebron stream, in which sewage water flows from both the Palestinian City of Hebron and the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba. This situation causes issues such as stench, increasing mosquito population, ground water pollution and other environmental hazards.
Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director – West Bank and Gaza says: “The World Bank acknowledges the significance of the advancement of environmental solutions such as the Hebron WWTP. We are very proud to be able to support the Palestinian Authority in this important project.”
Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East adds that: “The Hebron WWTP is a very important first step in the rehabilitation of the Hebron stream. However, fair and effective solutions must be agreed on by both Israelis and Palestinians, in full cooperation. Israel’s attempts to solve the issue alone have failed, and the WWTP in the Shoket Intersection repeatedly fails to function. Only joint management and monitoring of the sewage by both sides will enable a real long-term resolution for the issues of the Hebron stream.”
Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East says: “Sewage treatment is more then just an infrastructure project, but an opportunity for communities who jointly suffer to work together and build trust between one another. It is important that infrastructure projects involve all communities impacted from the earliest of stages, so that all come to understand the benefits of working together.”