| ||Situated in the Jordan Valley thirty kilometres downstream from Lake Tiberias, Bet She'an controlled the roads that crossed eastern Galilee several centuries ago. Its prosperity depended on the valley's fertility and its many springs and ponds. It was conquered and occupied by a number of peoples and under Byzantine rule in the fifth and sixth century was home to between 30,000 and 40,000 inhabitants. In the years immediately following the creation of the State of Israel, immigrants took over this town which now has a population of 18,000. In the modern part of the city vestiges of the Roman and Byzantine periods, a Frankish fort, a mosque from the Mameluke period and a Turkish seraglio, still remain. Through the Bet She'an valley flows the Harod River, a tributary of the Jordan and 35 kilometres long, whose waters are polluted by industrial, agricultural and urban waste. A rehabilitation programme has been in place since 1994. The new wastewater treatment plant inaugurated in 2005 should reduce the levels of pollution and salinity which are still worryingly high. Over 2,6 billion people in the world have no access to basic sanitation.
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