Indy op-ed blames Israel for increased deformities in Palestinian kids

An op-ed at the Independent (“‘We came here to redeem a land and we end up contaminating it’: Israel’s pollution problem in Palestine”) purporting to demonstrate the environmental destruction Israel has wrought on the territories included several misleading and false claims.

But, by far, the the most egregious lie is in this paragraph:

Numerous studies have shown the Israeli nuclear and chemical industries release radioactive materials and hazardous chemicals into the West Bank and Gaza. In the area around Hebron, soil, rocks, plants and water have all been found contaminated with extremely high concentrations of radiation, in some cases the highest levels found globally. The presence of radioactive material at such high levels, has been linked to leaks from Israel’s nuclear reactor, and military activities, but burying of nuclear waste is also suspected. High levels of radiation in spring water help to confirm this. Anecdotal reports support conclusions that this is occurring in some 50 landfill sites across the West Bank and Gaza. Disabilities, deformities and cancers, especially in children are also increasing in the suspected areas.

So, to summarize, Indy editors signed off on an op-ed charging, without evidence, that Israel dumps nuclear waste from its Dimona plant both in the West Bank and (somehow) in Gaza, which the author ties to allegedly increased disabilities, deformities and cancers in Palestinian children.

As Shany Mor tweeted, “I guess they figured well poisoning didn’t sound modern enough”.

The first indication that this allegation is nothing but unhinged propaganda – in addition to the fact that the author doesn’t cite a source – is that even the most stridently anti-Israel NGOs haven’t leveled such an allegation. In fact, B’Tselem, which recently promoted that lie that Israel is an apartheid and “Jewish supremacist” state, doesn’t say a word on their Environmental Damage page about the alleged dumping of nuclear waste in the occupied territories.  The same is true of Adalah and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Not surprisingly, the only sites we found which have advanced some variation of this narrative are propagandistic sites like Electronic Intifada, pro-Hamas sites like Pal-Info and MEMO, some Qatari-based Arabic sites and Saudi-owned Indy Arabia.

This is truly among the most egregious lies we’ve ever come across whilst monitouring the British media over the last 12 years, and we’ve asked editors – under the terms of the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code – to retract the relevant passages.

Related Posts
Written By
More from Adam Levick
A review of: Trials of the Diaspora (A History of Anti-Semitism in England), by Anthony Julius
The following is a review of Anthony Julius’s book, Trials of the Diaspora:...
Read More
Join the Conversation


  1. says: AKUS

    “Numerous studies have shown the Israeli nuclear and chemical industries release radioactive materials and hazardous chemicals into the West Bank and Gaza.”

    The Zionists use their Jewish Space Lasers to direct the pollution solely to Gaza and the West Bank, leaving Israeli air as pure as the driven snow.

    1. says: Sid Levine

      You are out of your little mind.

      It is the Arabs who cause pollution by dumping their waste from Judea and Samaria into the wadis and rivers that flow from the heights towards the Mediterranean Sea!

      As to nuclear waste it is buried near its source.

      Hazardous waste is disposed of at a special facility at Ramat Hovav in the Negev, near Arad.

      How about the arson being carried out burning hundreds of dunams of forest in the last week polluting the air round Jerusalem

      1. says: Gail

        Akus is making a sarcastic reference to MTG’s ‘Jewish space lasers’ comment when she was ‘youngun’ who still believed in ‘Q’

  2. says: Doug

    Well that’s alot off my mind there I was thinking that it was all those pre arranged marriages between first cousin’s and brothers and sisters and father daughter relationships but now I have a nation to blame? Funny old world int it?

  3. says: Andria Spindel

    Obviously Hamas and Fatah don’t want to deal with disabilities and care little overall for their children so why not make up a story? Its not just egregious, but stupid! Such ignorance in any paper should be cause for advertisers to flee. Israel is more dedicated to clean air and water, land restoration and healthy living than any other western country. They provide for Gazans with humanitarian aid, and utility services while Hamas dumps garbage and cares not about the environment, kills its own people with rockets, uses them as human shields, creates child soldiers, murders gays, dissidents and minorities.

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *