Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The Canary Website reported, So far COP26 has revolved around politicians making pledges they’re unlikely to keep. And even if they were kept they wouldn’t go far enough to avoid planetary melt-down. As this happens, activists are using COP26 to raise awareness of Israel’s environmental persecution of the Palestinian people. Israel’s environmental programme is inflicting further abuse on Palestinians.
In addition to persecuting Palestinians through military occupation, Israel are carrying out greenwashing in an attempt to boost their environmental credentials. Even as they do this, however, they’re still advancing environmental damage to our planet.
As the Decolonize Palestine group say:
Greenwashing refers to when a state or organization appeals to environmentalism in order to deflect attention from its harmful practices.
Israeli tactics risk even more regional conflict by taking Palestinian gas to sell to Europe. This is the topic of one of the COP26 Coalition events on 9 November. It’s called How Apartheid Israel and the Climate Crisis are Intertwined. The Canary spoke with Palestinian and Israeli campaigners speaking at this event.
But before getting into that, we should note that only some of these campaigners are allowed entry to the UK to attend. Palestinian campaigners told The Canary they won’t be coming as they’d be denied entry. They’ll now speak via a video link. They claim the UK doesn’t recognise their Palestinian vaccine certificate, whereas the UK does recognise the Israeli one. I hope to follow up on that in a later article.
Throughout history, European colonial nations planted people in their colonies to help secure control of that area. Israel has done likewise in Palestine since colonisation began in 1948. Additionally, according to Palestinian campaigners who spoke to The Canary, Israel is not just planting people; it’s also planting trees. And it’s not necessarily the eco-friendly act it may seem. Campaign activist Abeer Butmah told The Canary it’s more to do with a kind of colonial enforcement.
These campaigners said Israel is trying to claim Palestinian villages, destroyed in 1948, by planting trees where villages once existed. And this latest form of persecution is two-fold. Not only are they using trees to create the impression that Palestinians had never lived there, but they’re using European trees. That means trees which aren’t adapted to the local climate. That means they need to consume much-needed water to survive.
Abeer Butmah, who’s based in Ramallah, is one of those campaigners. She elaborated on the environmental destruction Israel’s inflicting in the region. Butmah is also coordinator at Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network – Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON-FoE Palestine).
Climate change in Palestine it’s not only [a] natural phenomena, it’s also [a] political one because it’s under occupation. So we cannot talk about climate justice under occupation. And we cannot talk about climate adaptation under occupation because there is no Palestinian sovereignty on the natural resources.
She added that:
The occupation (Israel) controls nearly 85% of water…[so] we cannot manage our own resources to adapt enough to climate change
Butmah then explained how “the Israeli siege of Gaza” is having an even worse effect on the environment and people’s health. In fact:
the consequences of the Israeli siege on Gaza has a catastrophic environmental impact and health impact. In Gaza especially 96% of water is unfit for human use…nearly 80% of waste water [is] pumped to the sea without treatment…as a result of energy shortage…as a result of the siege…there is a limited amount of fuel that can…enter Gaza, so the very limited amount of fuel can operate only the generators for the waste water treatment plants for [a] few hours…that causes water contamination and it has a critical effect on the marine life also and also on the health of the people. For example in 2017 one child who was swimming in the sea…he died as a result of water contamination.