As casualties mount in Gaza, FoEI remembers its 2013 solidarity mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the human rights violations and environmental devastation they observed. Though the current brutal conflict has gained international attention once again, the abnormal governance and repressive policies of the Israeli government have also created a grave and permanent social and environmental situation in Palestinethat demands international solidarity.
The mission saw evidence of land grabbing and diverted water resources, and heard testimonies of officials, researchers, local people and environmental activists. They saw industrial sites with little or no emission controls, untreated sewage piped from urban developments onto open land and streams, and mountains of waste from decades of uncontrolled dumping. They heard about the destruction of trees and the polluting of agricultural land and surface water.
During the visit, Friends of the Earth International chairperson Jagoda Munic condemned what she referred to as the “less visible forms of occupation,” which include toxic waste-dumping, the expropriation and diversion of fresh water sources, and the development of polluting industries close to Palestinian towns. She called these Israeli governmental policies “truly shocking” and went on to say: “Palestine stands as an example of the link between environmental injustice and social and political injustice.
July 9, 2014 marked ten years since the International Court of Justice issued its ‘Advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’. The Court was clear: it demanded the wall be torn down, reiterated Palestinian rights and called upon the international community to enforce Israeli compliance. Since construction began in 2002, the wall has transformed the physical and human landscape of the West Bank. It has disrupted ecosystems, destroyed livelihoods and separated families and communities. The wall remains the single largest obstacle to Palestinian movement in the West Bank, cutting people off from homes, lands and services, as well as traditional economic, social, cultural and religious centres, including East Jerusalem. Some 170 communities in the West Bank are directly affected by the wall.
What has followed has been another decade of injustice and continued impunity with a lack of accountability for unlawful Israeli actions. Ten years later, the Wall and the settlements continue to grow in Palestine, embodying a massive process of land annexation, pillage of natural resources and displacement.
Many communities also suffer from a lack of access to adequate, safe, and clean water, due to Israeli water policies and practices – which discriminate against the Palestinian population – and the encroachment by Israeli settlers on Palestinian water resources.
Video produced by Radio Mundo Real
With thanks to PENGON/Friends of the Earth Palestine
*Friends of the Earth International
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