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Palestine is a climate justice issue – Israeli apartheid is not ‘green’

Palestinian BDS National Committee on
(Image: Palestinian BDS National Committee)

The catastrophic climate crisis is fueled by global inequality and engineered by complicit governments and corporations that put profit before people and planet. Everywhere, the least powerful are the most affected. Indigenous Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, with no control over their land or natural resources, are highly vulnerable to the climate crisis.

The climate emergency makes Zionism obsolete (but Judaism could help save the planet)

Robert Cohen on
A Palestinian girl passes through flooding water in the village of Ein Qiniya near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 9, 2013. Extreme weather, including torrential rains and heavy winds, killed four people in Israel and the Palestinian territories on January 8, 2013, as widespread flooding swept the Middle East. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/APA Images)

Robert Cohen writes, with the global climate emergency upon us, “Zionism is one of many obsolete ideologies which needs to be ditched if we’re to build a sustainable future for all of us. In contrast, Judaism itself, shorn of its Zionist overlay, has plenty to offer as we look for radically different ways to relate to each other and the planet.”

Palestinians are facing climate dystopia under Israeli apartheid

David Kattenburg on
A Palestinian poultry farmer inspects dead chickens at his farm in the central Gaza Strip, June 04, 2014. Gaza's agricultural sector suffered devastating losses during a heat wave that hit Gaza Strip.

In the world’s only settler-colonial apartheid state, forcible transfer and climate adaptation denial are the name of the game. In a region where climate futures promise to be especially dystopic the ensuing crisis will either accentuate inequity and conflict, or prompt solutions for once and for all for everyone’s benefit.

Adapting to climate change under ‘water apartheid’

David Kattenburg on
On the edge of downtown Jerusalem, among the ruins of the Palestinian village Lifta, Israeli Jews enjoy natural spring waters that once were central to the life of the village

Climate change is a human rights issue. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), where land and natural resources required for climate adaptation are controlled by Israel, and systematically denied to Palestinians. Of all these resources, none are more vital than water.

War, empire, and racism in the Anthropocene

Nafeez Ahmed on
U.S. Army Sgt. stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaylah Oil Fields in Southern Iraq, Apr. 2, 2003. (Photo: US Navy/Wikimedia)

The Anthropocene is a proposed new geological epoch which designates a shift to a planetary age dominated by human impacts across the geological processes of the Earth. But the Anthropocene is about far more than just climate change. It is about an entire system of life, whose design is to maximise resource extraction at the expense of expendable ‘Others’, and it is inseparable from the ceaseless sequence of industrial wars, culminating in today’s permanent state of the endless ‘war on terror’.

Real populism is the answer to climate crisis

Jonathan Cook on
Activists with the organization Extinction Rebellion block the streets outside the Bank of England on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Mike Kemp via Getty Images)

The rise of populism in both its rightwing and leftwing manifestations, and the more general political polarization in our societies, are the symptoms of a breakdown in trust, a collapse of consensus, a rupture of the social contract. Jonathan Cook says today we desperately need the populism of Extinction Rebellion, of Greta Thunberg and the school strikes, of politicians prepared to stand by a Green New Deal and declare real climate emergencies.

Paradigm shift is needed address crises of civilization

Nafeez Ahmed on
Drone footage of displaced family tents in one settlement in Badghis, Afghanistan, due to ongoing drought and climate change. There are thousands of makeshift homes spread between mountain hills on the outskirt of Qala-i-naw city. (Photo: Norwegian Refugee Council/Enayatullah Azad)

A recent UN global assessment confirms that the planet is currently experiencing 2,500 conflicts over fossil fuels, water, food and land — conflicts which are therefore directly related to the ongoing collapse of the earth’s biodiversity. Yet, political leaders are preoccupied with the surface symptoms of this fundamental crisis of civilization, rather than the crisis itself.

‘Revolutionary change’ needed to stop unprecedented global extinction crisis

Michelle Lim on
White stork birds flying in the West Bank city of Jenin, on March 13, 2019. According to the recent IPBES Global Assessment, close to 20 percent of all bird species on Earth are at threat of extinction. (Photo: Shadi Jarar'ah/APA Images)

We are witnessing the loss of biodiversity at rates never before seen in human history. According to the world’s largest assessment of biodiversity nearly a million species face extinction if humans do not fundamentally change our relationship with the natural world. Dr. Michelle Lim says the world’s legal, institutional, and economic systems must be reformed entirely in order to halt the continued loss of nature, and that listening to Indigenous communities is an essential first step.

Gaza now has a toxic ‘biosphere of war’ that no one can escape

Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta on
Palestinian children fill bottles with water from a public tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, July 1, 2014. Israel had bombed the main water line for al-Shati refugee camp and a sewage plant west of Gaza City. (Photo: Eyad Al Baba/APA Images)

A biosphere refers to the interaction of all living things with the natural resources that sustain them. Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta write that Gaza has become a “biosphere of war”, where “sanctions, blockades and a permanent state of war affects everything that humans might require in order to thrive, as water becomes contaminated, air is polluted, soil loses its fertility and livestock succumb to diseases. People in Gaza who may have evaded bombs or sniper fire have no escape from the biosphere.”

‘If you’re for justice for Palestinians, you’re for climate justice’: Zena Agha on climate change and the future of Palestine

Adam Horowitz on
Palestinian civil defense volunteers help people to travel across flood waters in Gaza City following rain storms, on December 14, 2013. A fierce winter storm shut down much of the Middle East at that time, burying Jerusalem in snow, and flooding parts of Gaza. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

In her recent paper “Climate Change, the Occupation, and a Vulnerable Palestine,” Zena Agha outlines the threat that climate change presents to Palestine, how it is exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, and the steps being taken, or not being taken, to prepare for it. Adam Horowitz talks with Agha about what climate change means for the future of Palestine and the Middle East, and how it should fit into the Palestine solidarity movement agenda.

Farming while Palestinian: a World Water Day outrage

Nancy Murray on
A delegation from Eyewitness Palestine harvests olives at Asira ash-Shamaliya. (Photo: Nancy Murray)

Since 1967 Israel has issued military orders asserting its control over all water sources in the occupied territories, depriving Palestinians access to their own water. What does this water deficit look like on the ground? Nancy Murray explains how Palestinian farms cope without access to irrigated or piped water.  

Palestine and the Climate Crisis 

David Klein on

The urgency of the global climate crisis makes it imperative for any social justice movement to come to grips with, and confront it in some way. Nowhere is the impact to the environment more connected to injustice and oppression than in Palestine.

In age of forest fires, Israel’s law against Palestinian goats proves self-inflicted wound for Zionism

Jonathan Cook on

A ban by Israel on herding black goats – on the pretext they cause environmental damage – is to be repealed after nearly seven decades of enforcement that has decimated the pastoral traditions of Palestinian communities. The Israeli government appears to have finally conceded that, in an age of climate change, the threat of forest fires to Israeli communities is rapidly growing in the goats’ absence. Jonathan Cooks writes that the story of the lowly black goat, which has been almost eliminated from Israel, is not simply one of unintended consequences. It serves as a parable for the delusions and self-destructiveness of a Zionism bent on erasing Palestinians and creating a slice of Europe in the Middle East.

The endangered white cucumbers of Battir

David Kattenburg on

Israel has been itching to run its Separation Wall across the occupied valley of Battir for years, a move that would surely destroy that valley. But Battir has UNESCO status because of its agricultural traditions, including terraced irrigation and heirloom apricot and cucumber, and this has put Israel’s plans on hold for the time being.