The Palestinian Authority was requested and agreed to find solutions and raise the fund needed to resolve the alarming environmental situation in the Gaza Strip resulting from the Beit Lahia which was established over 20 years ago and has, over time, created severe problems for the population.
of participants 35
of women 4 out of 35
of women that spoke-up 2 out of 4 Key Speakers: Dr.
Nabeel Ash-Shareef, Director of the Palestinian Water Authority, Mr.
Marwan Abdul Hameed, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mr.
Sameer Matar, Director of the Local Government Department of North Gaza, Mr.
Muhammad al-Aileh, General Director of the Projects Department at the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority, Mr.
Khamis al-Mahalawi, General Director of the Environment Education Department at the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority.
Summary of issues raised by the guest speakers: The sewage treatment plant in the Gaza North area threatens the environmental situation and the life of hundreds of thousands of people.
There are real risks that the plant may potentially explode within a year in spite of the official efforts to deal with the situation.
The plant was established by several decades ago.
The PNA has worked hard to maintain and repair the plant.
However, construction work is prohibited by Israeli's in the area of the plant.
There should be international pressure on Israel to allow the PNA to deal with the situation as soon as possible.
Currently, the only possible solution is to support the sand barriers around the pools to protect people in the area.
The PNA has funds and plans to implement urgent and long-term solutions.
In many occasions, the Israeli forces fired at contractors, workers and equipment as the PNA started to work on these solutions,, which resulted in the stopping of the works on the plant.
Summary of answers given by the public: Although, the PNA had the chance to resolve the problem when the political atmosphere was better, this did not occur.
It was a mistake to relocate the Bedouin village near the plant after the PNA seized their land near Jabalia.
The inhabitants of area suffer from health problems which are caused by the plant, and the PNA should act soon to face the issues.
It is the PNA's responsibility to resolve the situation before a disaster takes place.
Planned and undertaken follow-up of issues raised:
As a follow up of the meeting and the problem, the Center will prepare a well-documented report on the case and contact the United Nations, international organizations and donors both to exert pressure on Israel to allow for resolving the situation.
Extra funds will also be requested for this purpose.
Al Mezan will also contact the specialized Palestinian entities to deal with the health problems, to combat insects and parasites and to monitor the situation and deal with any potential hazards.
Actual improvements achieved, if any:
Some of the problems raised by the participants were followed up by the key speakers, particularly in the sector of health.
Al Mezan conducted a report in June 2003 on the problem and is planning to organize a workshop, as suggested above.
Summary of evaluation forms of participants and speakers:
The participant's evaluation of the meeting is positive in general.
Participants think that the theme is highly important and that it was raised at the right time.
Their comments on the management and timing are positive.
They also believe that the guests, performance and the results are good.
However, they believe that the audience is less than they expected.