We met with people from Qalqilya: A., the mayor, N., the municipal spokesman, Y., the city engineer and additional municipal staff, at the initiative of S., our friend from Habla.
The participants asked to meet in order to discuss a problem that has bothered them for a long time. Since the separation fence was erected their sewage flows to the oxidization pond near Kibbutz Eyal. The pipe runs through the lowest point in the western part of the city, through the fence, to the pond near the fence on the Israeli side. The flow through a 40-inch pipe goes into a 25-inch pipe that leads to the pond. When the pond is full, the flow is stopped (with no advance notice) and the entire area floods. The problem is most serious when it rains. The two channels – one for rainwater and the other for sewage – overflow and Qalqilya’s entire western section, which is lower than the rest of the town, is flooded by sewage. The rainwater mixes with the sewage.
The oxidation pond is apparently not being managed properly and the stench is carried by the wind to the residential areas all year long. The western neighborhoods suffer the most, the mosquitoes are unbearable and the residents are afraid of disease. They are forced to seal their homes against the smells and the mosquitoes. There are many cases of asthma, and they fear the flooding will affect the quality of the subsurface water.
An elementary school for girls is located in that area, and it also suffers from the lake of sewage each winter.
From time to time, young people demonstrate at the fence against the hazard and IDF soldiers respond by firing tear gas over the fence and use other means of dispersing a demonstration, which often hit the school.
It was hard to hear them repeat, again and again, during the conversation: “Of course, we’re Arabs, so it’s all right to drown us in sewage, garbage and stench…”
The head of the Kafr Bara municipality (within the Green Lina and adjoining Kafr Qassem), who participated in the meeting, said their sewage flows to an oxidation pond near Horshim. It’s better managed and they have no problem of odors or mosquitoes.
We referred the matter to Ilana Belmeiker.