Baseline of a Desecrated Land IX: Toxic Leaks & Spills

Baseline of a Desecrated Land IX: Toxic Leaks & Spills
Part 9 of a 12 part series examining the ecological impacts of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
A synopsis of the findings is here.

by Dick Callahan, reposted from

Recognition 9: The ‘Toxic Tsunami’ and Other Disasters

Petroleum contamination: Chronic leaks and spills in Israel

“… we discovered a layer of gasoline near a gas station in the Tel Aviv area that was four meters (13 feet) deep in the ground water.” Barach Weber, Tel Aviv District Director, Environmental Ministry.

In a 2014 article entitled A bleak history of Israeli fuel pollution, Zafrir Rinat noted Israel has some 870 miles of fuel pipes, 19 large fuel storage facilities with capacities above tens of thousands of cubic meters, about 1,000 retail gas stations, 180 other gas stations, and petroleum storage tanks above and below ground at plants, military bases and residences. When the Israeli water authority drilled at 640 fuel storage sites to check for fuel pollution, 190 tested positive, mostly in ground water sources. Authorities also found pollution at all 14 gas stations they tested. Likewise, 13 of 17 fuel storages tested were polluted.

In 2012 Rinat wrote up a Health Ministry study revealing that, of 166 wells around Tel Aviv in 1980, (most of them tapping the Coastal Aquifer), 96 had been closed by 2011 due to industrial contamination by the arms industry, fertilizers, pesticides, and toxic sludge.

32 of the wells closed because of fertilizer, nitrates and toxic metals. 8 more were closed by toxic metals. 10 were closed because of perchlorate, a military rocket fuel component that leaked from Israel Military Industries plant in Ramat Hasharon. Well water use was stopped entirely in Ranat Hasharon because of perchlorate. Authorities estimated 600 million cubic meters of water in the Ramon Sharon area were contaminated. Look at that number again. 600 million cubic meters. That amount, as it happens, is exactly equal to Israel’s entire desalination capacity for a year.

Israel’s Water Authority claims it will ‘rehabilitate’ the Tel Aviv area wells by: pumping and purifying water and “injecting materials into the aquifer that help dissolve the contaminants more quickly.” The 600 mcm of contaminated water, “will have to be pumped and purified, which will take 20 years, and cost half a billion shekels. If this is not done, the contamination will continue to spread putting more ground water at risk.”

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website says, “The total average annual potential of renewable water [within the country and not including desalinated water] amounts to some 1,800 mcm of which about 95% is already exploited and used for domestic consumption and irrigation.”

To sum up, as of 2018, Israel claims to use about 2,400 MCM of water every year. They average an annual renewable water potential of 1,800 mcm. They make 600 MCM per year by desalination, giving a total of 2,400 mcm per year. By contaminating 600 mcm around Tel Aviv alone, they’ve negated their gains from desalination.

Big Oil is always a disaster waiting to happen

“And, ah, evidently, ah, leaking some oil…” Captain Joseph Hazelwood, Exxon Valdez oil spill at Bligh Reef, Alaska; initial Coast Guard call, March, 1989.

Geographically Israel sits on the solar plexus of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Egyptian Pharos dominated this region to control trade. After them came Greeks, Romans, Persians, Crusaders, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, British, and now the Zionists with American backing. In today’s world economy the region’s most lucrative commodity is petroleum. Where petroleum flows there are petroleum spills.

Beginning in the 1960’s Israel, with little fanfare compared to its highly touted water and weapons industries, established itself as a major truck stop on the global oil highway between Asia and Europe. Israel’s oil sector operates under a mask of ‘state security’ so transparent they can call oil infrastructure carrying millions of tons ‘state secrets’ as if maybe people won’t notice. Petroleum flows through the Jewish state by a system of super tankers, tank farms, and pipelines. It’s a complex and censored network, leaving the country in the dark, in denial and as unprepared as Alaska was in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh reef.

The Exxon Valdez taught Alaska some lessons. Oil company executives won’t be held accountable. Contingency plans are worthless. No matter how much containment boom you’ve got, or what kind, or how many skimmers, once the oil is in the water it’s gone and you’re not going to get it back. Dispersants make the mess at sea more toxic. Decades after the spill oil will still be just below the beach rocks and oil companies will be stalling payments, waiting for workers dying of lung and organ damage from pressure washing or steam cleaning beaches to be dead. Residents of affected coastal communities will lose livelihoods, be unable to eat their seafood and see a rise in alcoholism, domestic violence, and suicide.

Given Israel’s prevailing currents and dependence on multiple desalination plants that stand in the path of an Ashkelon oil slick, it may well be that the Zionists have developed the most environmentally reckless, unsustainable system in the most environmentally reckless, unsustainable industry on earth.

Oil pipelines

Oil pipelines have played a role in hostilities between Arabs and Zionists since before Israel was founded. Two of the region’s first big pipelines were finished in 1934 when Britain and France each built 600 mile long oil lines to bring crude oil from the huge Kirkuk oil fields near Mosul, Iraq to the Mediterranean. One ran through British Mandate Palestine to refineries in Haifa. The other tracked across French Mandate Palestine to Tripoli, Lebanon. Refined oil was then shipped to Europe.

Arabs targeted the British pipeline during the1936-39 uprising. The British responded by allowing Evangelical Captain Orde Wingate, who was either a military genius or a vicious mental case, or both, depending on the biographer, to form the Special Night Squadron (SNS). Wingate’s approach to protect the pipeline, and quash the rebellion generally, was to recruit British soldiers and Zionists, among them future Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dyan, to raid and kill Arabs in their villages during the night. The raids were terrorist in nature and execution. Nazis would later adopt a similar campaign called, ‘Nacht un Nebel,’ (Night and Fog), to suppress the French resistance. As happened with the Nazis in France, SNS night raids in Palestine only hardened resistance.

When the Zionists founded Israel in 1948 the Arabs, upset at the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Arabs from Palestine, declined to sell them oil. Israel was forced to buy Venezuelan oil at a third-again above the cost of Arab oil. After a few years Israel struck a deal with the Shah of Iran to quietly buy Iranian oil. Through a decade of Byzantine negotiations, banking maneuvers, threats, offers and counter offers, the Israelis convinced the Shah to go in with them on a joint venture oil pipeline that would run northwest from Eilat, Israel on the Red Sea, to Ashkelon, Israel on the Mediterranean. Iran would supply oil and deliver it by tankers to Eilat. The Zionist’s part of the package was to secure low-interest loans from Germany, guarantee to buy half of Israel’s oil supply from Iran, help Iran develop oil markets in Europe, and Israel would provide Iran with modern weapons.

The Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) was finished in 1968. The industry liked it because the Suez Canal was becoming too crowded for efficient oil shipping, was too narrow and shallow for the next generation of super tankers, and Egypt could shut anyone it chose out of the Suez Canal. To avoid diplomatic strife with Arab countries, Israel and Iran kept the partnership low-key by doing business transactions through shell companies overseas. To this day Israeli media stories about EAPC; like where the oil comes from, or how much, or where it’s being shipped, can be punishable by 15 years in prison if they’re not cleared through military censors. It’s a climate where environmental rules are flouted, unenforced or waived entirely with no meaningful penalties to polluters.

Today EAPC’s 42 inch, 158 mile-long crude oil pipeline is the largest in Israel’s petroleum grid. EAPC also has a 16”/18,” 122 mile-long crude pipe going from Ashkelon to Haifa refinery, an 18”/16,” 22 mile-long pipe going from Ashkelon to Ashdod refinery, and a 16,” 161 mile-long refined petroleum pipeline going Haifa-Eilat. In addition there are storage facilities at either end. Over 50-years old now, the pipeline is part of the ongoing acrimony between Iran and Israel because Israel stopped paying money it owed Iran after the Shah was deposed back in the 1970’s. A Swiss court ruled in 2016 that Israel owes Iran over a billion dollars, plus court costs, in back payments. Israel refuses to pay.

Another source of EAPC discord is that back in the 1970’s Egypt, recognizing a good thing when they saw it, built their own pipeline from the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean (SUMED). SUMED is a dual 42 inch, 200 mile-long crude carrier. Super tankers offload south of the Suez, their oil goes through the pipeline to Alexandria where it’s reloaded on other tankers and shipped to Europe. Nearly 80 percent of Arabian Gulf oil bound for Europe goes through SUMED and, with international sanctions lifted from Iran because of the 2016 nuclear agreement, Iran, which has higher quality oil, is now eyeing Europe as a market by sending oil via SUMED. Israel and some of the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, are not keen on this prospect which threatens their pocketbooks, regional stability and, if it comes to violence, threatens the vulnerable components of both EAPC and SUMED.

EPAC originally flowed south to north. Israel reconfigured the system in the 2000’s to flow in either direction. That way, oil from the Kirkuk fields in Iraq, and the Black and Caspian Seas can be offloaded at Ashkelon and transferred to Eilat by pipeline, where it can be reloaded on tankers bound for Asia. This approach requires supertankers and large storage tanks at both ends of EAPC.

Oil Tankers

Super tankers too large to go through the Suez Canal avoid a long trip around Africa by using EAPC or SUMED but oil transporters have other problems. Because of factional fighting and power shifts in the region, oil from Iraq’s Kirkuk fields now goes by pipeline to Ceyhan, Turkey. Iraqi government troops, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and ISIS fight each other for control of Kirkuk oil causing a rolling mess of bloodshed and oil spills. At the same time, Turkish and Israeli government officials snark at each other in the press and Israel purports strained relations with Iraq and other oil states. All the while oil continues to flow towards money.

Part of how the system works came out in November, 2017, when a Kuwaiti oil speculator living in Sweden noticed that certain super tankers were loading a million barrels of oil at Ceyhan, sailing down the coast, then shutting down their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) transponders [satellite tracking beacons], off Israel, only to reappear on the system—empty—a few days later. Turning off the AIS negates the cargo insurance so it’s an extremely unusual move. After apparently offloading at Ashkelon, Israel, the ships would return to Ceyhan and make the trip again.

Oil Tanks
Big pipelines and super tankers need big storage facilities. EAPC’s deputy general manager, Effi Milutin told Tank Storage Magazine, [who knew tank storage had its own magazine?] in 2017 that Israel was adding 800,000 cubic meters of storage at Ashkelon, which would bring EPAC’s total storage capacity to 4.5 million cubic meters. “EPAC,” he told the magazine, “has capacities among the world’s largest.”

Imagine the weight of that oil. Given a weight of 0.88 metric tons per cubic meter of oil, just the added 800,000 cubic meters would weigh 704,000 tons.

For perspective, Sears Tower in Chicago weighs 201,849 tons. So you’re adding the weight of 3.5 skyscrapers to the weight of tanks already there. Ashkelon is located above the Coastal Aquifer which is shrinking from being over drafted. When the water table is drawn down, land above it subsides, sinkholes open up that collapse structures. How long the Aquifer’s porous rock will hold up the tanks is anyone’s guess.

Below are five of Israel’s top petroleum calamities so far:

December 2016 A massive fire broke out in a 2,000 cubic meter tank at Haifa refinery.

December, 2014 5,000 metric tons of oil spilled from the EAPC pipeline in Ervona desert nature reserve, causing a 4.3 mile long braided river of oil, that killed vegetation and wild life across miles of the reserve. There was a large spill in the same area from the same pipeline in 1975 that scientists today say has resulted total reproductive tree failure to this day.

June, 2011 1,500 cubic meters of jet fuel leak onto Nahal Zin nature reserve from EAPC pipeline.

October, 2007 Ashdod to Haifa pipeline break spilled 30 to 40 tons of crude oil

July, 2006 One of Israel’s worst environmental crimes—and the biggest oil spill in eastern Mediterranean history—was when Israel bombed an oil storage facility near Lebanon’s Jiyeh Power Plant to make the oil run into the sea, deliberately contaminating Lebanon’s coast all the way to Syria. Between 15,000 and 30,000 metric tons of oil caused a slick 12 miles wide and a hundred miles long. The Jewish state wouldn’t let international aid workers come in to help clean up the spill. Israeli jets attacked fire fighters trying to control the spill with the result that more oil discharged. Beaches, harbors and caves, were covered with oil. Fisheries and endangered green sea turtles were devastated. Burning oil droplets were carried high aloft where they drifted for miles, condensed, and rained down on communities. One man said, “It’s dripping oil from the sky.”

If an enemy does to Israel what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, life in the Jewish state will stop on a dime. A missile strike or sabotage on a super tanker would do it. An earthquake could do it as well. A tsunami from the western Mediterranean could also shut the place down. Or, just an incompetent seaman steering into a well-marked hazard—as happened with the Exxon Valdez—would be the event to create a north flowing spill big enough to cripple Israel on multiple levels. A catastrophic oil spill would contaminate Israel’s entire coast. It would shut down oil traffic and shut down every desalination plant along its way sending Israel into an immediate water crisis. Fishing would collapse. Beach tourism would collapse. Wetlands would be ruined. Parts of coastal cities would have to be evacuated.

Natural Gas Pipelines and Platforms
Noble Energy, Israel’s gas exploration/extraction partner in America, is building a 40,000 ton (topsides) natural gas production platform and plans to place it six miles off Israel’ s Dov Beach. Four drilling wells located in the giant Leviathan Gas Fields over 60 miles seaward from Israel/Gaza, in water 5,500 feet deep, will provide the gas through two 73-mile long underwater pipes. From the production platform another pipe will send the gas to shore.

This is a huge project and one by which environmentalists say Israel is risking “…a major environmental and public health disaster.” Among other things, critics say Noble’s environmental record is not good, that it minimizes risk, minimizes predictions of carcinogenic discharge emission rates, that it inflates its ability to cope with spills, that most of the essential information necessary to evaluate Noble’s environmental impact statement had been blacked out or redacted before being released for public review (in the name of state security or corporate trade secrecy), and that Israel’s government gave Noble a permit to pipe highly toxic by-products of the gas to land without Noble meeting environmental imperatives set by the court.

There is already a production platform, the Tamar, 14 miles offshore with emissions The Times of Israel reports are known or suspected to be carcinogenic in estimated amounts equal to “the total of such emissions from 570 large industrial plants across [Israel] including the Haifa oil refineries.”

To Israel’s existing undersea petroleum pipeline infrastructure, the project will add the giant production platform, over 150 miles of underwater pipe, a 430 ton undersea manifold to connect the four wells, 10,000 valves, 33 miles of derrick piping, 264 miles of cable, 94 miles of umbilical, operating in deep water, pumping millions of cubic meters of toxic materials, toxic emissions close to shore,…all running beside an earthquake fault zone.

Pipeline quality natural gas is about 98 percent methane. In a twenty-year cycle methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat trapping greenhouse gas. With atmospheric methane levels spiking worldwide, including in Israel, it might be good consider how lame the petroleum industry response to an underwater natural gas pipeline can be. In 2016/17 observers found a substantial natural gas pipeline leak in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. The pipe’s owners blithely announced that they couldn’t just shut it off. So they didn’t. For over four months a crack in their 8 inch pipe spewed between 210,000 and 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day into Cook Inlet. Not all the gas makes it to the surface. Some diffuses into the water, saturates it, and kills fish and other marine life that happen to swim through it.

On the recklessness scale, even Israel’s Leviathan project would be dwarfed by the Jewish state’s current proposal to build a 1,200 mile long(!) natural gas pipeline, called EastMed, along the bottom of the Mediterranean from the Leviathan drill site to Italy. At the beginning of 2018 the EU put up 34 million Euros to make a study of the idea. Globe’s: Israel’s business arena, reports that the pipe would be laid through the volcanic zone between Crete and Greece in water as much as two miles deep. Volcanic activity could damage the pipe which will be very hard [read impossible] to fix. In addition to disastrous environmental impacts, the low price of natural gas, the high cost of building the pipeline, and Europe’s determination to get off fossil fuels and develop sustainable, clean energy may yet scuttle EastMed but Israel is still trying to move ahead with it and expects to have a decision by 2019.

Earthquake Notes

… the danger of a powerful earthquake is no less than that of a nuclear disaster—with the difference that we know that an earthquake occurs on average every 80 years.” Zafrir Rinat, Haaretz 2017

Small earthquakes, sometimes multiple quakes within a week, of 4.0 to 5.5 on the Richter scale, have been annual events in Israel for years. When quakes rattle the Jewish state two things happen. Religious zealots quote End Times prophesies from Ezekiel and Revelations and, Israeli newspapers publish articles about how unprepared Israel is for a major earthquake.

Major earthquakes rattle the eastern Mediterranean a couple times per century. Israel is bisected by the Syria-African fault line running right up the countryside from Eilat to Haifa via the Jordan Valley. An 1837 earthquake in Palestine’s Galilee region killed 7,000 people. The last big quake eminated from the Dead Sea area. It killed 500 people in 1927.

Tamir Levy, Chief Engineer for the Association for Better Housing, said in 2017 that most Israeli homes would not withstand a powerful earthquake. In 2010 Zafrir Rinat wrote that 50,000 buildings in Israel are not up to code and can be expected to collapse in an earthquake. Estimates are that a major earthquake in contemporary Israel would kill 7,000 injure 8,600, leave 377,000 homeless, and destroy electricity, water, communications, oil facilities, and other infrastructure.

Hazardous waste, environment sacrificial zones
Israel is a signatory and ratified party to the ‘Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundry Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.’ The Basel Convention holds that ‘waste management is more just and less environmentally harmful if it is carried out in the country where the waste originates.’ And yet the Jewish state sends its hazardous waste out of Israel to Israeli built environment sacrificial zones in the adjacent, occupied West Bank. Israel has complete control there but doesn’t enforce environmental standards applicable next door in Israel.

“…facilities that process Israeli waste in the West Bank are able to operate in the shadows without transparency. Since plants are exempt from recording or reporting their external impact, no information is collected at all regarding the type and quantity of pollutants, how they are treated, the destination of waste water pumping, or the quantity and destination of hazardous by-products. Even if some information is recorded, it is not made public.” Made in Israel: Exploiting Palestinian land for treatment of Israeli waste. B’Tselem, by Adam Aloni. Translated by Maya Johnston. December 2017, 20 pages.

Israel produces 350,000 Mt of hazardous waste each year. About 60% of it is organic waste, used solvents, oils and other materials. About 10% of the waste contains metals: mostly lead from the battery industry but also lithium batteries, aluminum, copper, zinc and silver, among others. The rest of the waste is made up of hazardous materials, packaging, contaminated soil and industrial waste water.

For decades Palestinians have accused the Jewish state of dumping its toxic waste in the occupied territories . The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem quantified some of that in a December, 2017 report describing five of Israel’s fifteen plants set up in the occupied West Bank to process poisonous by-products of the self-proclaimed ‘Start-up Nation.’ Toxic wastes include dangerous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural raw materials, high-tech waste, e-waste, heavy metals, military components waste (who knows what’s in that stuff), fuel and oil production, paint production and more. Some findings from the report:

The Global Footprint Network says, “Israel’s ecological footprint—the measure of how much land and water are required to provide the resources consumed and absorb the waste generated—is three times that of either Egypt or Jordan.”.

Israel treats most of its sewage but what does that mean, exactly? In part it means that sludge, the solids that settle to the bottom of clarification tanks after the water is extracted, have to go someplace. Israel’s sewage sludge goes to a processing plant called Compost Or, on Palestinian land in the West Bank. The Compost Or site, “is the largest plant for processing sewage sludge generated in Israel and is one of several facilities that handle the processing and burial of different types of Israeli waste.”

“Roughly 60% of all sewage converted to fertilizer in 2015 was processed at the Compost Orr factory. It receives sludge from 25 municipal sewage treatment facilities throughout Israel including Eilat, Beersheba, Jerusalem, Herzliya, Haifa, and Karmiel and also from the settlement of Ariel.”

Another plant in the Occupied Territories, Eco Medical, handles 3,300 metric tons of infectious, biological, and medical waste per year.

40% of Israel’s 500,000 Mt of solvents are recycled at 5 West Bank plants. Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection gave all 5 of these plants exemptions from regulations. Says Shoni Goldberg, Director of the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s Jerusalem District. “I haven’t been able to carry out enforcement with respect to air quality in the West Bank for almost a decade.”

The Toxic Tsunami

“All the plants and animals in the valley during the tsunami of acid were probably highly damaged, probably dead. In the long term, there will be soil damage and large functional ecological problems.” ecologist with Israeli’s Ministry of Environment

Israel’s worst toxic spill so far was in July of 2017. A 200 foot tall earthen retaining dam collapsed sending 100,000 cubic meters of highly acidic waste effluent mixed with heavy metals, and perhaps worse things, more than twenty kilometers down a dry river bed (Ashalem stream). The toxic reservoir drained in a torrent that killed everything it touched. Imagine if that mess spewed into Vermont’s Winooski River and killed everything from Montpelier to Waterbury. Bernie Sanders’ head would explode.

The acid was phosphogypsum water from a massive phosphate plant at Mishor Rotem. notes, “The Negev Phosphates Chemical Company at Mishor Rotem, located immediately adjacent to the Dimona [nuclear] reactor, is Israeli’s only acknowledged nuclear fuel cycle facility…Israel can extract uranium from Negev phosphate deposits…However, it is reported that domestic production of uranium as a by-product of phosphate mining amounts to only 10 tons a year.”

Negev Phosphates was founded 1952 and merged with Rotem Amfert Negev in 1991. Israeli Chemicals Ltd is Rotem Amfert Group’s parent company. ICL owns 100 percent of RA shares.

Before the spill the area was a small nature reserve with the region’s last remnant population of majestic Ibex that was down to twenty-six animals. Within weeks eight of them had been found dead along with foxes, antelope, birds, and other creatures. Hiking is closed to the public. A subsequent Israeli Environmental Ministry document revealed the replacement pit Israeli Chemical Ltd., built to temporarily replace the failed acid reservoir, was leaking. The Ministry supported ICL’s request to use the pit anyway for another six months.

Israel’s Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction
Among nations, the big three agreements for limiting weapons of mass destruction are the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Only two countries in the world have never joined any of them—South Sudan and Israel. Topping the list of Israeli state secrets are caches of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Israel only admits to these weapons when it is caught in a scandal. For example:

Sarin gas is one of the worst chemical neural toxins ever invented by the diabolical minds of men. On October 4, 1992 an Israeli sate owned 747 cargo jet, El Al Flight 1862, crashed into a high rise apartment complex in Amsterdam incinerating the plane along with numerous apartments in the complex, killing at least 43 people and injuring many more. While traumatized Dutch neighbors worried about noxious white smoke that billowed out of the fire, sickening hundreds, the Israelis-and the Dutch government-claimed the plane was carrying “video-recorders, flowers and perfume” . Dutch authorities were going along with that line until the Dutch news service Handelsblad printed a leaked copy of El Al 1862’s manifest which revealed the plane was carrying tons of hazardous materials including enough of three of the four chemicals for making Sarin to wipe out a major world city.

Israel is rumored to have a wide spectrum of deadly biological agents including bubonic plague and Ebola. In 2014 the Jewish state, after years of court denials, agreed to compensate Isareli soldiers who were damaged in biological weapons research. The scandal is that between 1999 and 2005 Israel’s Institute of Biological Research used more than 700 Israeli soldiers as guinea pigs for testing anthrax vaccines. The American government gave Israel $200 million to do this evil deed.

Dimona: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Reactor

The most dangerous building in the world, right next door to Mishor Rotem phosphate plant described above, is Israel’s well-known-secret nuclear weapons plant in the Negev Desert. The reason it’s so dangerous is not that it’s the earth’s oldest nuclear plant; built during the Eisenhower administration. It’s not that Dimona has an aluminum core with 1,537 documented ‘defects and flaws.’ It’s not that the plant is more than 15 years past its expected working life, or that Dimona is 18 miles from the Africa-Syria fault line. It’s not even that the plant was built to make weapons not electricity, or that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It’s the world’s most dangerous facility because, let’s be serious here, has anyone, anywhere, ever heard the Israeli government say, “Yep, this was entirely our fault and we take full responsibility.” about anything? When, not if, Dimona melts down and blows sky-high the Israeli government will blame Iran, or Syria, or somebody. It will fire missiles, perhaps nuclear missiles built at Dimona, at Iran, or Syria, or somebody. The United States government will commit America’s military to Israel’s side. At that point the entire rest of the world will line up against the United States and Israel.

Dr. Uzi Even, one of the original scientists who built Dimona, has publicly urged the Israeli government to shut the plant down. In 2016 he said, “If you’re asking me if there is a point in continuing operating a 53-year-old reactor, the answer is certainly not.” At the same time he made it clear Israel would not be able to build another nuclear reactor by itself, also that Israel doesn’t have the ability to renovate the existing one, and “There is no one in the world who will agree to sell us such a reactor unless we sign [the non-proliferation treaty.]”

Israel’s nuclear capacity broke out on the world stage in a 1986 edition of The Sunday Times, London after Israeli nuclear technician Mordeci Vanunu took covert pictures of nuclear weapons being made at Dimona. Vanunu was later kidnapped by the Mossad in another country, returned to Israel and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He’s been arrested since for speaking out and has spent more than half his life in prison.

Under American law, the 1976 Symington Amendment of the Arms Export Control Act prohibits economic or military aid to any country with nuclear weapons that doesn’t allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Israel refuses to allow inspections of it’s nuclear facility but still every President, Congress and Senate, since 1976 has authorized funding for Israel in violation of the Symington Amendment. American nuclear scientists are under a gag law that prohibits government agency employees or contractors from openly discussing Israel’s nuclear weapons program, on pain of losing their security clearance and/or being fired.

Richard Silverstein’s 2015 article called, “Dimona: Israel’s little Hiroshima” comments on Orna Ben Dor’s documentary,” The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor.” According to the article, it’s illegal to test for leaking radiation around the plant. Ben Dor is quoted saying, “Anyone who brings a Geiger counter to any Dimona facility or who tests the air, water, or soil around it is committing a crime punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.” Multiple sources say Dimona had radiation leaks, including lethal ones, while it was being built and has had other leaks since. Dozens of Dimona workers who came down with cancer have filed lawsuits seeking compensation.

As with the EAPC pipeline; secrecy, censorship, lack of oversight, and lack of accountability surrounding Dimona stifle debate and criticism, increase the likelihood of disaster, and create a false sense of security among the public.

(*Graphic at top by artist Kari Dunn

Recognition 9: Toxic Spills: Selected Sources

12.07.2014 A bleak history of Israeli fuel pollution Haaretz Zafrir Rinat.
09.02.2007 Contamination endangers Coastal Aquifer: one fifth of Israel’s drinking water Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. Water in Health Ministry data: 160 wells shut down due to contamination from an overall 1,000 wells that produce 20% of Israel’s water. At one site near a gas station, “Only recently we discovered a layer of gasoline near a gas station in the Tel Aviv area that was four meters (13 feet) deep in the ground water.” Heavy metals in the water included lead, chrome, arsenic.
08.22.2017 Ground water in Israel Contaminated by gas stations and storage tanks Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. ¾ of 236 monitored sites contained varying levels for gasoline or from fuel additives. Most test sites were above the Coastal Aquifer.
12.25.2016 Large fire breaks out in Haifa oil refineries, residents of area urged to stay indoors Haaretz by Noa Shpigel. Massive fire in 12,000 cubic meter tank.
12.26.2016 Oil refinery fire in Israel: an ominous warning: Haaretz. by Zafrir Rinat.
11.23.2015 Ervona reserve’s ecology in danger due to oil spill’s damage to trees. Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. The basis of Ervona nature refuge’s ecosystem is acacia trees. Scientists trying to figure out the reserve’s long term prognosis after the catastrophic 5,000 ton oil spill here last year studied a nearby part of the refuge where there was a huge oil spill from the same pipeline in 1975. There they found only older adult trees. No young or middle age trees. There was zero recruitment: total reproductive failure.
07.29.2006 Casualties of War: Lebanon’s trees, air, and sea. New York Times. by Hassan Fattah.
10.19.2015 Israel water quality: Fanak, Middle East and North Africa. Water of Israel’s Coastal Aquifer is heavily polluted with saline water, sewage, fertilizer.
12.17.2014 Oil spill in Israel’s Ervona Nature Reserve is disastrous news for a precious resource. Washington Post by William Booth. 1.3 million gallons from a broken oil pipeline flow directly into desert reserve. Drought stressed plants and animals there already on the edge there from years of drought.
12.09.2014 Pipeline disaster proves Israel must remove unjustified shroud of secrecy HaaretzEditorial0.24.2007 Authorities scramble to contend with Haifa Crude oil spill. Haaretz by Fadi Eyadat and Zafrir Rinat. 30 to 40 tons of crude oil spilled when oil pipeline broke
between Ashdod and Haifa.
01.18.2012 Study finds most Tel Aviv area wells too polluted to draw drinking water Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. Of 166 Tel Aviv area wells operating in 1980 only 96 are still operating. Almost 2/3 of drinking water wells in greater Tel Aviv have been declared too contaminated for use according to the Health Ministry and Water Authority. Contaminants are from industrial production of armaments, rocket fuel, toxic metals, fertilizer, and pesticides. Wells are also contaminated by salinity as the Israelis have drawn down the water table so low that salt water is encroaching.
December, 2017 Made in Israel: Exploiting Palestinian land for treatment of Israeli waste B.Tselem The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
08.18.2018 Israel turns West Bank into toxic waste dump Middle East Monitor Palestinian officials say 60 percent of Israel’s waste ends up in west Bank.
08.14.2018 Israel stops Germany backed building works in West Bank Middle East Monitor The Germans were helping Palestinians build a waste disposal site that would consolidate various dumps. Israel told the Germans that Israeli colonists would also use the dump. The Germans declined because the fund is for developing countries, also because the settlements are illegal under international law.
07. .2018 Earthquake hits Israel’s north for the third time in a week. Jerusalem Post by Sarah Levy, Samuel Thorpe. Haifa/West Galilee rattled. 4.5 on the Richter Scale.
11.14.17 Is Israel ready for the next big earthquake? Times of Israel by Sara Levi. Short answer is, ‘No.’ Tamir Levy, Chief Engineer for the Association for Better Housing, said in 2017 that most Israeli homes would not withstand a powerful earthquake. In 2010 Zafrir Rinat wrote that 50,000 buildings in Israel are not up to code and can be expected to collapse in an earthquake. Estimates are that a major earthquake in contemporary Israel would kill 7,000 injure 8,600, leave 377,000 homeless, and destroy electricity, water, communications, oil facilities, and other infrastructure. [A major quake would leave Israel looking much like Israel has made Gaza look today.] 05.16.2016 5.0 magnitude earthquake shakes southern Israel Tiimes of Israel. TOI staff. Epicenter 100 km south of Eilat.
06.30.2015 Sinai earthquake 5.1-5.5 felt in south Israel Times of Israel.
07.30.2015 4.4 magnitude earthquake felt aacross Israel Times of Israel Quake eminated from the Dead Sea area.
05.24.2014 Minor earthquake felt in Israel Times of Israel by Yifa Yaakov and AP. 4.1 quake followed by large (6.9) quake in islands off Greece and Turkey.
01.05.2010 Israel is due, and ill prepared, for a major earthquake Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat.… the danger of a powerful earthquake is no less than that of a nuclear disaster—with the difference that we know that an earthquake occurs on average every 80 years.”1837 Galilee earthquake killed 7,000. 1927 Dead Sea earthquake killed 500. 50,000 buildings in Isarel are not up to code and can be expected to collapse in an earthquake.
Winter 2018 Kirkuk’s oil chess board. The Cairo Review of Global Affairs by Ellen Wald.
04.09.2018 Now you see it//The mystery of the disappearing tankers that carry Kurdish oil to Israel. Haaretz by Yaron Cohen-Tzemach.
03.31.2004. A shortcut for Russian oil to Asia. Institute for the analysis of Global security, energy security.Trans Israel pipeline where Russian tankers would bring Russian oil from Novrossiysk on the Black Sea to Ashkelon, offload into Trans Israel pipeline which takes the oil to Eilat where it’s loaded onto tankers that take it to the Asian market.
08.10.2017 State comptroller probes why gas platform being built close to Israeli coast Times of Israel  by Sue Surkes.
July, 2018 Arms Control Association Fact Sheet Israel [Nuclear non-proliferation treaty not signed or ratified, Biological Weapons Convention not signed or ratified, Chemical Weapons Convention signed 1993 but not ratified.] 07.04.2017 ‘Tsunami’ of toxic waste kills plants, animals in Israel’s desert Reuters by Ari Rabanovitch.This is a really bad one. 100,000 cubic meters of highly acidic waste effluent flowed more than twenty kilometers down a dry river bed (Ashalem) after it breached a 60 meter (196 feet) tall earthen tailings dam, draining the toxic reservoir in a torrent that killed everything it touched.The acid was phosphogypsum water from a massive phosphate plant at Mishor Rotem.
01.13.2014 Israel to compensate soldiers who took part in anthrax vaccine Haaretz by Gili Cohen
12.02.1998 Flight 1862 and Israel’s chemical secrets Green Left Weekly-(reprint of October 16,1998 Middle East International article) by Mouin Rabbani
07.24.2011 Mishor Rotem Israel Special Weapons Facilities globalsecurity. org https// notes, “The Negev Phosphates Chemical Company at Mishor Rotem, located immediately adjacent to the Dimona [nuclear] reactor, is Israeli’s only acknowledged nuclear fuel cycle facility.”
02.12.2017 Acid leaks found at Dead Sea Chemical site Arutz Shiva. by Mordechai Sones. Israeli Environmental Ministry document reveals the replacement pit for the failed acid reservoir is leaking. Israeli Chemical Ltd. Ministry supports ICL request to use the pit anyway for another six months.
08.10.2018 Can the U.S. keep lying about Israel’s nukes? A judge must soon decide by Grant Smith
03.14.2018 Grant F. Smith and overview of the Israel Lobby agenda YouTube at the WRMEA Conference. Grant talks about a Gag Law—WPN—136—that is a US regulation that government agency employees or contractors cannot openly discuss Israel’s nuclear weapons program, on pain of losing their security clearance and/or being fired. link here: watch from minute 9:27 to 10:29
04.26.2016 Shut Dimona nuclear reactor, urges founding scientist. Times of Israel. Staff article.
05.20.2015 Dimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’ Middle East Eye. by Richard Silverstein. Silverstein comments on Orna Ben Dor’s documentary on Israel’s nuclear reactor in the Desert. The documentary is called “The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor.”
09.27.2013 a “Nuclear Free Zone” in the Middle East? Why Israel will not join the non-proliferation treaty. Global Research. by Timothy Alexander Guzman. Iranian
12.07.2011. Nuke plant workers exposed to high radiation levels. Ynet news. Naama Cohen Friedman.
10.05.1986 Revealed: The Secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. The Sunday Times, London.

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