Mining

Mining is the process or business of digging in mines to obtain minerals, metals, jewels, etc [1. “Mining.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.].  This process can be extremely lucrative for corporations and nations alike, but it can also be extremely detrimental to both the physical and social environment.  The Middle East is known for being an oil-rich region, but there are also other valuable resources that can be mined.

Unfortunately, these resources can be the cause of conflict in the Middle East.  Two nations that have been in conflict with each other are Palestine and Israel.  Palestinians and Israelis disagree about virtually everything, and mining is no different.  Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice in 2009 [2. “Stealing Palestinian Resources.” Sabbah Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.].  They petitioned the HCJ to stop the unlawful mining by Israel in the West Bank.  Yesh Din claims that the mining in the West Bank violates international law, but in 2011 the HCJ rejected their petition.  Yesh Din appealed the decision, but it was rejected again a year later.  The HCJ claimed that the Palestinians and the Israeli’s already came to an agreement about the issue, which they did in 1995.  However, this agreement stated “quarries must be transferred to the Palestinian side within eighteen months.”  This did not happen, and Israel continues to profit off of mines that rightfully belong to Palestine.

An Israeli truck leaves Palestinian territory
An Israeli truck leaves Palestinian territory, Dror Etkis, May 1, 2011

While Israel and Palestine cannot agree about the social aspects of mining, they have agreed that the environment must be protected.  In the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the two nations agreed “each side shall act for the protection of the environment and the prevention of environmental risks, hazards and nuisances including all kinds of soil, water and air pollution.”[3. “INTERIM AGREEMENT ON THE WEST BANK AND THE GAZA STRIP–Annex III.” INTERIM AGREEMENT ON THE WEST BANK AND THE GAZA STRIP–Annex III. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.].  This agreement is encouraging, and it shows that while the two nations may be in constant conflict, they can at least agree that the earth must be protected from pollution.

Mining is an important industry for both Israel and Palestine.  Building and road construction have been vital to Israel’s success because it is a relatively young nation.  These industries rely heavily on an efficient mining and quarrying sector for a constant supply of raw materials.  Israel mines the raw materials to build roads and buildings including sand, gravel, and limestone.  The supply of mining and quarrying materials is estimated at 50 million tons per year[4. “Mining and Quarrying in Israel.” – Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.].  The forecast for raw material consumption in the year 2040 is 1.9 billion tons.  In Palestine, the mining and quarrying industry is growing.  In April 2013, the Palestinian mining and quarrying industry grew 7.85%, up to 4.59% of the nation’s total industry[5. “Palestine Industrial Production, Mining Increases | Maan News Agency.” Maan News Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.].

Mining is an important industry for many corporations and companies all over the world, and it is no different in Israel and Palestine.  These two nations are in virtually constant conflict, and Israel has refused to relinquish control of their mining operations in the West Bank, in violation of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  While they cannot agree on the social aspect of mining, the two nations have agreed that the environment must be protected.  The Interim Agreement states that the environment must be protected and that both nations will do their best to protect it.  The mining industry is important to both countries, and it will continue to be important moving forward.

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