COP26: Hebron Palestinians 'Walk' For The Environment

Published November 2nd, 2021 - 07:41 GMT
Palestinians harvest olives from their land
Palestinians harvest olives from their land, which lies on the Israeli side of the Wall (AFP File Photo)

More than 27 young Palestinians participated in Earth walk in Wadi al-Kuf natural reserve in Hebron Governorate in the south of West Bank, a walk for 6 Km exploring different parts of this reserve which is considered the largest natural reserve in the West Bank and its area is estimated at 3500 dunums, calling on world leaders meeting at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow to protect the Palestinian environment.

This walk, organized as part of DANIDA’s civil society program in cooperation with the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority (PEQA) and Palestinian Agriculture Directorate in Hebron Governorate, aimed at promoting the role of Palestinian youth in responding to the climate crisis and implementing safe environmental initiatives for tackling problems caused by climate change and Israeli practices. This walk highlighted the issue of the climate crisis and its negative impacts on earth and Israeli practices committed against Palestinian land said a press release by ActionAid Palestine (AAP).

The youth were briefed by the Palestinian environment expert in(PEQA), Jamal Tmizi, about Palestinian natural reserves and their challenges affecting the sustainability and mechanisms required to maintain these reserves. He also highlighted the role of AAP and its work with governmental organizations to raise the awareness of Palestinian youth about the importance of saving the Palestinian environment and the necessity of combating climate change as it strongly threatens all of us.

Through the walk, the youth sent their messages to world leaders who will participate in COP26 urging them to tackle the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation impeding the Palestinians in tackling the climate crisis. They also demanded they challenge the existing planning and permit regime, the inequality of water allocation and provide protection for the Palestinian environment and its natural resources and increase funding for climate change adaptation interventions.

The impacts of climate change caused by high temperatures and changes in weather include scarcity of water, low soil fertility, and low productivity of some agricultural crops in the occupied Palestinian territory. However, the Palestinians living in Area “C” of the West Bank have exacerbated suffering as they do not only suffer from climate crisis but also suffer from Israeli practices that prevent them from using techniques for adaptation to this crisis.

For example, Palestinians have limited control over water resources in this area. Recently, due to climate change, rainfall fluctuations and long dry periods without rain-reduced annual rainfall, and the quantity of rainwater available. The construction or extension of wells, cisterns, and pipelines is costly for Palestinians and it is impeded by Israeli restrictions.

Saif Salmieh (32 years old) from Hebron Governorate says ” the climate crisis has impacted him through high temperatures and low productivity of agricultural crops and high prices of Palestinian vegetables and fruit due to cold and hot weather. We also cannot plant trees in some parts of Area ‘C’. We will feel excluded in UN COP26 if the role of Israeli occupation in exacerbating this crisis is not discussed and tackled. This walk will convey our messages about different aspects of the climate crisis. We demanded world leaders design plans to control the impact of technological development on climate and give more attention to Palestinian environment.”

Jenna Jabari is a Palestinian young woman living in the south of West Bank: “Climate crisis and change affects our life and Israeli occupation exacerbates our suffering resulting from the climate when it prevents us from entering essential equipment to our areas needed for adaption with the climate crisis. Climate change decreases the income of women who depend on agriculture since the production of agricultural crops will be decreased due to rising temperatures and this raises the rate of poverty among women and causes rising prices. The policies of the Israeli occupation increase challenges of work for rural women in rural areas where women have to carry additional workloads in providing water as Israel prevents them from digging groundwater in Area ‘C’. Climate change crisis decreases work opportunities for women in the field of agriculture due to climate challenges.”

She added, “This Earth walk helps us to send our messages to world leaders meeting in UN climate Summit in Glasgow. We demand them to pay attention to this crisis in Palestine. We demand that the world leaders practice pressures on the Israeli government to respect the environmental conventions and allow the Palestinians to deal with the climate crisis by allowing them to construct wells, plant trees, and entry of agricultural equipment to their lands. We have the right to protect our environment and overcome this crisis.”

 


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