Protests over the Aravah’s Last Sand Dunes
The area in question is about 30 miles (50 km) north of Eilat. From the Jerusalem Post:
Israel’s Green Movement held a demonstration Wednesday afternoon in front of the Knesset calling for the government to revoke plans to mine Samar sand dunes, the Arava Desert’s last remaining dunes, which host a variety of animal species unique to that “island” landscape, according to Prof. Alon Tal, head of the group.
“It’s a biodiversity hotspot – because it’s a meeting of three continents,” said Tal, who is also a faculty member at Ben- Gurion University of the Negev’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.
Originally 11,000 dunams, the Samar dune area is already down to about 2,300 dunams due to previous work. The Green Movement, alongside other environmental activists, has been fighting the mining ever since a license was granted for it about a year-and-a-half ago by the Israel Lands Authority, Tal explained.
Meanwhile, Tal added, the Samar dunes are a popular place for hikers and children who play in the sand.
“Why prevent future generations of Israelis’ access to its one remaining sand dune, and destroy an internationally significant hotspot for biodiversity to reduce the travel time of sand by an hour and a half?” Tal asked.
“It bears pointing out that the area of the dunes is five times bigger than the area slated to be mined, and it is situated just to the north of the Yotvata Nature Reserve, and the ILA intends to preserve the entire contiguous area.”
The full article is here.