Wednesday 29 August 2012
Friends of the Earth International
Environmental injustice – Environmental nakba
International NGO observer mission to Palestine: “The occupation is an injustice”
29 August 2012 - Upon invitation of Friends of the Earth Palestine (Pengon), a Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) delegation is visiting the West Bank to observe the environmental injustices of the occupation and to gather testimonies and evidence from those affected.  
For two days, Friends of the Earth International Executive Committee Member Mr Bobby Peek of South Africa, and Mr Eurig Scandrett, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth Scotland, have met with local mayors, administrators, and community people in the West Bank. The environmental impact of the Israeli occupation is evident throughout the West Bank. Untreated Israeli sewage and industrial waste contaminates Palestinian land. Pollution from Israeli factories damages Palestinian lungs. Palestinian water is denied to Palestinians so that Israeli settlers can live comfortably on Palestinian land. The delegates have recorded stories of the use of military force to destroy Palestinian cisterns and wells.
“We will erase this apartheid” – The occupation of Palestine is an injustice that has on numerous accounts been likened to South Africa’s apartheid; the wall separating Israel and Palestine is a physical manifestation of this oppression.
As Mr Eurig Scandrett observes: “The theft of resources and the pollution of land and water are designed to serve only the interests of the apartheid state of Israel. This is nothing short of an environmental nakba" .
FoEI’s vision is of a peaceful and sustainable world based on societies living in harmony with nature; a society founded on social, economic, gender and environmental justice, and free from all forms of domination and exploitation, such as neoliberalism, corporate globalization, colonialism, neo-colonialism and militarism. What the FoEI Observer Mission witnessed was almost the opposite.
The unequal relationship between the peoples of Israel and Palestine is perpetuated by military might. As long as this occupation continues the Palestinian people will face environmental injustices resulting in both the destruction of the peoples’ health and well-being, and their environments.
As Mr Peek declares: “We need to take seriously the concerns of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as he pronounced on the apartheid nature of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine land. The occupying of Palestinian lands is a challenge FoEI deals with globally in the form of poor people losing their land through undemocratic landgrabs by multinational corporations and governments. FoEI rejects attempts to normalise the situation and supports the Palestinian people in their mobilisation and resistance to the occupation.”
 Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 76 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FoEI campaigns on today's most urgent environmental and social issues, challenging the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promoting solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies (www.foei.org)
 The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON- FoE Palestine) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1996 to serve the Palestinian environment by coordinating the scattered efforts of the different Palestinian NGOs working in the field of environment. Pengon has 14 organisational members (www.pengon.org)
 The word nakba is an Arabic word meaning catastrophe. Since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 and the consequential displacement of Palestinians, Palestinians mark Al-Nakba Day on 15 May every year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Eurig Scandrett at email@example.com
Bobby Peek at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Earth International Press Office: phone +31-20-6221369 Megan Lewis