RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (PALESTINE) – A four day high-level Friends of the Earth International visit to Friends of the Earth Palestine (also known as PENGON) concluded on October 13th, when Friends of the Earth International chair Jagoda Munic presented a report during a press conference in Ramallah.

The report, “Environmental injustice and violations of the Israeli occupation of Palestine” documents some of the environmental injustice that a Friends of the Earth International delegation observed in 2012.

Friends of the Earth International deplores the confiscation of land, taking control of water resources, building of illegal settlements, restrictions to freedom of movement, dumping of solid and liquid waste including hazardous and nuclear waste, and the movement of banned hazardous industries from Israel to occupied Palestinian land.

Dr. Ayman Rabi from Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON said:

“The continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is the prime cause of environmental injustice and degradation in Palestine. The illegal acts that the occupation authorities are currently practicing against the Palestinian People are clear violations of international law and humanitarian law. These include land confiscations to expand illegal Israeli colonies, over-exploitation of natural resources, and pollution of the environment as well as denying Palestinians the right to access and use their natural resources”.

Jagoda Munic, the chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, said:

“Apart from illegal Israeli settlements and the separation wall, we have witnessed less visible forms of occupation including toxic waste-dumping, the expropriation and diversion of fresh water sources from Palestinian communities to the benefit of Israeli settlers, the development of polluting industries close to Palestinian towns and landgrabs. Friends of the Earth International has exposed environmental injustices and resource grabbing around the world, but the Israeli government’s systematic policies of segregation, land grabbing, and water resources expropriation are truly shocking.”

She added:

“Palestine stands as an example of the link between environmental injustice and social and political injustice. The environmental and subsequent humanitarian impact of the Israeli occupation worsens every year. Therefore, Friends of the Earth International supports the demand of Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON in calling upon the international community and the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its illegal acts against Palestinians and to stop treating Israel as a country above international law.”

Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON believes that now is the time to ensure that Israel agrees to a time-frame to end its occupation of Palestinian territory (as per United Nations Resolutions 242, 338 and 194), allows Palestinians to live in dignity and gain their sovereignty over their land and natural resources and promote a true, just and lasting peace in this region.

The Friends of the Earth International delegates who visited Palestine are from Croatia, Mozambique, Uruguay, the UK and the US. They visited areas around Bethlehem, Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus, and villages around Jerusalem and Northern Jordan valley.

They observed the water, soil, and air pollution in these areas and witnessed and commended the valuable work carried out by Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON in Palestine, extending their solidarity to the Palestinians.