Friends of the Earth International Observer Mission to Palestine
Environmental Injustice – Environmental Nakba
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) was invited by Friends of the Earth Palestine (Pengon) to observe the environmental consequences of the Israeli occupation. The Mission took place between August 26 – 29. Bobby Peek of South Africa and Eurig Scandrett of Scotland represented Friends of the Earth International (FoEI).
They gathered testimonies and evidence from those affected as part of FoEI's Human Rights Defenders programme. Human rights abuses are being perpetrated against environmental and community campaigners around the world. The full extent and severity of this situation has recently been made clear by the work of groups like Global Witness, and by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Friends of the Earth advocates for justice for those affected and works to raise awareness around this issue.
For two days, Peek and Scandrett met with local mayors, administrators and communities in the West Bank. They witnessed the environmental impact of the Israeli occupation throughout the West Bank. Untreated Israeli sewage and industrial waste contaminates Palestinian land. Water from the West Bank is denied to Palestinians so that Israeli settlers can live on Palestinian land. They also heard stories of the use of military force to destroy Palestinian cisterns and wells.
“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.” said Eurig Scandrett.
FoEI's vision is of a peaceful and sustainable world, where societies live in harmony with nature; a society founded on social, economic, gender, and environmental justice, free from all forms of domination and exploitation. What the FoEI observer mission witnessed in the West Bank was almost the opposite of this vision.
The occupation of Palestinian lands by military might has perpetuated the unequal relationship between the peoples of Israel and Palestine. Injustices damaging the health and wellbeing of Palestinian people and their environment will continue as long as this abnormal societal structure exists.