The High Court of Justice has authorized Israel to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for its own economic needs by rejecting a petition against the operation of Israeli-owned quarries in the territory.
In its ruling, issued on Monday, the court adopted the state’s position: that no new Israeli-owned quarries should be established in the West Bank, but existing ones should be allowed to continue operating.
The petition was filed two years ago by the Yesh Din organization. It argued that the 10 Israeli-owned quarries in the West Bank violate international law, which states that an occupier may not exploit an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own economic benefit; it may use such resources only for the benefit of the occupied people or for military purposes.
The Israeli quarries sell 94 percent of their yield to Israel and supply almost 25 percent of Israel’s total consumption of the raw materials in question. But until the petition was filed, the state had never seen any problem with this.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who wrote the ruling, began by accepting the state’s view that the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement permits the quarries to operate in their present manner until a final-status agreement is signed.