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Tovlan Landfill serves illegal Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian communities, West Bank

The Tovlan landfill which receives over 600,000 tons of solid waste from Israeli municipalities and illegal settlements contaminates air and poses health risks to Palestinian farming communities in the Jordan Valley.


The Jordan Valley comprises a fifth of the territory of the occupied West Bank, and contains abundant water resources about a third of the underground reserves in the West Bank. Tovlan, established in 1999, is a 33 hectare landfill located adjacent to the Jordan River on occupied Palestinian land, within a few kilometers of Palestinian farming communities in the Jordan Valley. It receives over 600,000 tons of solid waste on an annual basis from Israeli settlements. Contaminated air from the dump, as well as insects carrying bacteria from the site, are reported by Palestinians in the surrounding area to be linked to symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath and asthmatic conditions, and insect bites that cause severe skin irritations never experienced in previous years. Tovlan is mainly used as a dump for solid waste from Israeli municipalities and illegal settlements of Ariel, Ma'ale Efrayim, the Regional Council of Megilot, Biqat Hayarden and Shomron as well as the Barkan Industrial Park. Tovlan’s settlement sewage water plant generates electricity using extracted methane gas. The energy is used exclusively by the settlements whilst noxious smells and flies make the nearby impoverished Palestinian village of Abu Ajaj virtually uninhabitable, especially in summer.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tovlan Landfill serves illegal Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian communities, West Bank
State or province:Jordan Valley
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2008, it was reported that Tovlan accounts for 14 percent of Israel’s solid waste dumped in landfills, or 602,766 tons annually. In 2006, dumping one ton of waste at the site cost around 40 shekels ($10) [2]

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Around 200 Palestinians
Start of the conflict:1999
Company names or state enterprises:Veolia Israel from Israel
Oaktree Capital Management from United States of America - Current operator of the landill
Veolia from France - Previous operator of the landfill
Veolia Environment from France
Relevant government actors:Israeli Occupying Forces
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Al Haq
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Occupational disease and accidents, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsSymptoms of nausea, shortness of breath and asthmatic conditions, and insect bites that cause severe skin irritations
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Land dispossession, Specific impacts on women
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Withdrawal of company/investment
Between 2010-13 Veolia lost or withdrew from waste contracts worth over £10 billion worldwide due to its involvement in human rights violations such as waste transfer into the Occupied Territories. As a result it has sold all of its Israeli based businesses [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Tovlan has operated since the 1990s as a private business, without a plan approved by the regional council, or infrastructure to prevent ground pollution and emission of greenhouse gases, or a rehabilitation plan. The site is used only by Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

UN Resolution 63/201 of 28 January 2009 calls “upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Tovlan Landfill
[click to view]

[2] Electronic Intifada, 'Veolia involved in Israel’s waste dumping in West Bank'
[click to view]

[3] Who Profits, “Veolia’s Involvement in the Occupied Jordan Valley – An Update,” October 10, 2011.
[click to view]

[4] The Trouble with Veolia and Palestine, Huffington Post, January 23, 2013
[click to view]

Israel To Dump Its Garbage In The West Bank, By David Ratner, Ha', 5-15-5
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Al-Haq Organization, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2635
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