Get suing for your environment

dead sea

A landmark law was just passed in Israel this year. The Israeli Parliament, known as the Knesset just passed a new law on January 1, that allows both public and non-profit organizations to file a civil suit against any person or organization that damages the environment in general. The law was put into effect after a disaster in 2017 when a fertilizer plant spilled toxic materials into a Dead Sea stream, according to Haaretz.

Until now the only civil suits that could be filed in Israel were ones that caused harm to people. Civil suits can now be filed if the environmental damage is to plants, animals or even just landscapes.

What prompted lobbyists and lawmakers to go ahead with this new law was a disaster in 2017 when the Ashalim Stream in the Judaean Desert and close to the Dead Sea was polluted when a pool at the Rotem Amfert fertilizer plant collapsed. It was called a toxic sludge deluge. High levels of toxic materials including acids seeped into the riverbed, now closed indefinitely to hikers and tourists.

Some animals, like the ibex below, died immediately.

Because, technically, no people were hurt that day, the public was not legally allowed to file a suit against the plant. The area was a popular hiking spot, so people were essentially cut off from nature.

The bill to change the law was initiated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Israel’s leading environment nonprofit, and was sponsored by Deputy Knesset Speaker Tali Ploskov (Kulanu), MK Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Union), Nurit Koren (Likud) and Dov Khenin (Joint List). Some people, if you are an environment lover, you might wish to support.

The Dead Sea area in general is facing massive threats due to human greed and oversight. Very little water if any actually flows into the Dead Sea to replenish its natural balance causing it to shrink in size year after year. It’s an eyesore and a shame. One of the bigger blights and disasters to the Sea is the whole south section destroyed by a fertilizer company, the Dead Sea Works, previously known as the Palestine Potash Company.

As you can see below, the actual Dead Sea is severed now in two pieces, the lower region is now evaporation ponds for chemical extraction. How in the world a private company, owned by Israel Chemicals, can operate like this in today’s day and age is beyond me. Today Israel Chemicals is owned by Israel Corporation (52.3%), Institutional investors and public offering (33.6% and the rest (13.6% owned by Canadian company Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (Wikipedia).

The Israel Corporation, if we dig into the details is in majority holdings by the Ofer Family Group which owns, according to them, 52%.

If you want to be educated on how in the world the Israel Government sells its natural resources to a few wealthy families, watch the movie The Shakshuka System. Posted below for your convenience, with English subtitles.

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