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. [1] [2]

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.

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" [3].

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.”

NOTES

[1] 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)

[2] 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)

[3] 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

Abeer Al Butmah of Friends of the Earth Palestine (Pengon) at  info@pengon.org, phone:             +972-22966317      

Eurig Scandrett at escandrett@qmu.ac.uk

Bobby Peek at bobby@groundwork.org.za

Friends of the Earth International Press Office: phone             +31-20-6221369       Megan Lewis