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        General Assembly
        Security Council

11 October 1989


Forty-fourth session
Agenda item 82 (f)
Forty-fourth year

Letter dated 11 October 1989 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent. Mission
of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

I wish to attach herewith the text of a letter from the Minister for Environmental Affairs of Israel, His Excellency Mr. Ronni Milo, which was addressed to the Ministers for Environmental Affairs of States Members of the United Nations. The subject concerns the intentional destruction of the environment by Arab terrorist organizations (see annex).

I would be grateful if the text of the present letter and its annex were circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 82 (f), and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Johanan BEIN
Acting Permanent Representative of Israel
to the United Nations

Letter dated 2 October 1989 from the Minister for Environmental Affairs of Israel
addressed to the Ministers for Environmental Affairs of States Members of the United Nations

The State of Israel, like its Arab neighbours, is situated on the edge of a great desert. Israel has devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort over the last 40 years in the reforestation of a land which had been severely neglected.

On Tuesday morning, 19 September, this historical reclamation came to a sudden halt. In one of the cruelest blows to the environment in recent years, the forests of Mount Carmel were transformed by arson into a charred, smouldering wasteland. Approximately 2,000 acres of our oldest and most beautiful forests, as well as one of our most precious wildlife reserves, were destroyed in the blaze.
An Arab terrorist organization took credit for setting the fire. The orders were initiated by PLO. The message was clear, "After the Stones, the Fire". This quotation appeared on the front cover of the official EL-FATAH periodical, Falastin Al Thawara (26 June 1989) and the cover shows a graphic colour photograph glorifying the torching of the forests. The specific PLO instructions were included in leaflets issued by the "intifadah" leadership, which explicitly called for escalating the struggle by means of arson.

In 1988 alone, we experienced waves of terrorist arson that damaged a total of 42,000 acres of forest. In the summer of 1989, there was an increase of arson, with 405 fires ignited prior to the latest blaze on Mount Carmel.

The restoration of a burned forest takes more than a generation. We are a people who love our land. The loss of these forests is painful not only for us, but for future generations of Arabs and Jews alike.

This letter is being circulated because the subject of environmental protection is close to the hearts of all of us. My hope is that you will make your voice heard. The burning of forests in Israel is an act of terror which does not affect us alone. Acts which destroy nature's resources harm the entire global community.


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