World Environment Day
Palestinian human rights are closely linked to environmental justice. The ability of people to control and use their resources and live in a safe and healthy environment ensures they can achieve their human rights.
On World Environment Day, it is important to acknowledge the harmful impact of the Israeli Occupation on the environment that Palestinians live in and the degradation of the resources.
With 95% of the water in Gaza being unfit for human consumption and the ongoing siege causes pollution and sanitation issues in the Gaza Strip, it is clear that the environment is suffering from the impact of the occupation, and this has made Gaza ‘unliveable’ for its 2 million residents. The overcrowding of Gaza further exacerbates environemtal health and has led to poor living conditions and and negative impacton agriculture.
Israel has continued to control water resources for the West Bank, and excessive use of water resources by settlements has left Palestinians with water scarcity and polluted water sources. Israel has actively limited the amount of water Palestinians can access, causing a huge disparity between what Israeli settlers consume and what Palestinians consume, which is well below what WHO recommends is needed by people daily.
Settlements often dump their waste in areas occupied by Bedouins or near Palestinians towns. This causes health risks and impacts livelihoods for Palestinians. The Bedouin community has had its way of life severely impacted by Israeli attempts to displace them and often demolishing villages and making the environment difficult to survive on are tactics used.
The destruction of centuries old olive groves for ‘security’ as well as damage caused to farms and groves by settlers also harms the environment and causes eocnomic consequences for Palestinians.
Palestinians have a long tradition of love and care towards their land. Their inability to control it and its resources is harmful in a myriad of ways that causes real human suffering. On this World Environment Day, we should remember that the occupation is harmful to the environment, it is denying environmental justice to millions and it is unacceptable.
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