Israeli wildlife threatened by government plan

This video is called Israeli Wildlife.

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

Israeli scientists: Eilat rail route will cause ‘irreversible’ damage to nature

Scientists ask prime minister to reconsider route, which they say would destroy sections of nature reserves.

By Zafrir Rinat

Jan. 1, 2014 4:16 PM

Dozens of scientists from various Israeli academic institutions who are actively involved in environmental protection turned this week to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the request that he seriously reconsider the projected construction of a rail line that would connect Tel Aviv with Israel’s southernmost port, Eilat, on the shores of the Red Sea. The scientists are deeply concerned over what they believe would be the devastating consequences of this project on Israel’s flora, fauna and landscapes.

The government is expected next Sunday to discuss the project once more, this time in the wake of an appeal submitted by Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz against the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee’s decision to approve the planned rail route. According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, the proposed railroad would inflict massive damage on nature reserves in the northeastern Negev region.

In their letter to the prime minister, the scientists point out that the proposed route would traverse the northern Negev and Arava regions, the very core of Israel’s open spaces that has so far not been tampered with. The scientists say that this is almost the last region in Israel that offers the country’s citizens the opportunity to hike in, and enjoy, natural landscapes and open spaces. It is also a region, they note, with a high concentration of a variety of plants and animals that Israel is obligated to protect under various international conventions to which it is a signatory.

The proposed railroad is intended to transport both cargo and passengers, and to turn Israel into a bridge for the conveyance of goods between southeast Asia and Europe via the seaports of Eilat and Ashdod. The scientists point out that there is a need to study the overall economic benefits of the project in view of the huge investments that would have to be made.

In their letter, the scientists write: “The economic benefits must be weighed against the destructive and irreversible damage that would be caused to Israel’s natural landscape and heritage, to the Negev and Arava regions and to Israel’s citizens, who today are able to enjoy, and hike in, the country’s primordial desert areas which, should the proposed rail route become a reality, would be detrimentally affected and in part dramatically altered.”

On Tuesday Peretz participated in a professional conference organized by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. At the conference he made it clear that his ministry was not opposed to the project in principle; however, he emphasized, the ministry believes that there is a need for planning an alternative route that would enable the construction of a longer tunnel in the area located east of Dimona that would prevent damage to the most important core of Israel’s nature reserves through which the rail route would pass. This is also the route that has been proposed by the INPA.

According to Netivei Yisrael, the company responsible for planning the rail line, the route supported by the ministry would cause a significant increase in the project’s expected cost. …

Peretz, who rejects this explanation, stated in the course of the INPA conference: “This is a project that would fill Israel’s primordial landscape with mountains of dust, bridges and high-voltage overhead power lines.”

The National Parks and Nature Reserves Council, which operates under the ministry’s auspices, is scheduled to discuss a proposal for the allocation of sections of the country’s nature reserves in order to facilitate the construction of the proposed railroad. The council’s approval is required for any project involving the allocation of sections of Israel’s nature reserves.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel draws our attention to the continuous loss of grassland biodiversity caused by ill targeted public spending and refutes this possibility: here.

4 thoughts on “Israeli wildlife threatened by government plan

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