Sacred Stones

Considered by many as Palestine's white petroleum, natural stone is Palestine's most highly demanded raw material. Palestinian stones are used in the construction of iconic buildings in far corners around the world. But surprisingly and ironically, 71% of international sales of Palestinian stones go to Israeli construction projects including the construction of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. In the middle of Palestinian villages, cities, refugee camps and agricultural land, natural stone is being mined out at maddening unsustainable rates leaving behind a wreck of environmental, social and health problems that further compound the troubles of ordinary Palestinians under occupation.

Through the accounts of Palestinian and Israeli stone businessmen, laborers, officials, academics and impacted civilians, the tragic and alarming situation unravels. Since 1967, the Israeli occupation continually encouraged the development of the Palestinian stone industry and held it hostage to serving its own construction needs. As the Israeli demand for construction materials increases, the hyper-mining in Palestinian land increases. The complaints of impacted Palestinians end with persecution by the Israeli military, fall on the deaf ears of international organizations or are merely ignored by Palestinian officials who are unable and uninterested to change the course this industry has taken.