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The looting of Palestine: the Israeli stone trade contravenes international law.

Ramallah / PNN -- Dozens of drilling rigs are visible in the mountainous territory extending along the West Bank. Huge rocks are excavated and taken to Israeli quarries. The stones are being taken from Palestinian land to expand settlements.In the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem a similar scenario is playing out during home demolitions. Israelis are buying the stones after the army destroys a Palestinian home. The stones are old, classic, attractive.Inside the Palestinian West Bank are some 10 quarries owned by Israelis , particularly in the central and southern governorates but on land deemed "C" under the Oslo Accords. That means that residents are under Israeli civil and military control. One quarry produces approximately 10 million out of 44 million tons of stones consumed by Israel, all come from the West Bank.Palestinians are watching the looting of their wealth which increases the volume of the ongoing tragedy: the looting is used to support the plundering of the land for another settlement, and comes at a time when government studies warn that raw materials will become scarce in a decade. International law prohibits the exploitation of the natural resources of an occupied country.Researcher Muhannad Anati told the daily Sharq al Awsat, "We have asked to order a precautionary measure to stop all work in the Israeli quarries and the Israelis realize that there is a legal problem. This type of activity is a violation of the laws of occupation and therefore human rights. It is robbery."Director of Awaqf, Azzam Al Khatib, told the news, "This is not the first theft. Israel plans to transfer more of the stones from archaeological sites in an attempt to rob the history from Jerusalem."Abdullah Mahmoud of the campaign to stop the widespread theft said today, "Israeli is trying to obliterate Palestinian identity by looting most Palestinian archaeological sites."

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Publication:Palestine News Network (West Bank, Palestine)
Date:May 23, 2009
Words:321
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