The United Nations Environment Programme has prepared a report on the state of the environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in response to a Palestinian request by the Environmental Quality Authority. Friends of Earth Palestine/PENGON has reviewed the report and provided the following comments:
- Civil society participation: There was not enough involvement of environmental NGOs, including PENGON, during the report preparation.
- The report did not take into consideration the political aspects of raising environmental issues; the responsibilities and causes, which are the basis for good governance. In addition, some technical matters needed to be clarified, as well as the updating some information.
- The report dealt with illegal settlements as part of the West Bank. The report didn’t highlight the Israeli violations against environment, including uprooting trees, confiscating land, and military operations. The report went further to say that Israel is taking all measures to mitigate these damages, as if they are in the West Bank. The report therefore supports the idea of colonial presence, which means controlling Palestinian land and natural resources.
- The report didn’t clearly highlight the Israeli violations against natural resources. Rather, the report blames Palestinians alone without putting the responsibility on Israeli occupation. The information suggests the environmental degradation in the Palestinian territories is a result of the Palestinian inability to manage their natural resources, and not as a result of the occupation policy against the Palestinian environment.
- The report suggest that the ideal solution is to enhance cooperation between the Palestinians and Israelis, without giving any importance to the full sovereignty and Palestinian rights to their natural resources, as we believe that ending the occupation is the only solution. In addition, there is a question regarding the aim of involving the Israeli occupation as a party in preparing this report.
PENGON assures that annexation plan will lead to killing the possibility of a Palestinian state, and deprive Palestinians of sovereignty over their resources. This will result in the impossibility of integrated environmental planning and creating weakness in the Palestinian ecosystem.
Accordingly, PENGON- FoE Palestine will discuss this report with all relevant institutions and come up with a comprehensive technical paper that reflects the position of environmental NGOs on this report.
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