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The Friends of the Earth International mission of solidarity with the Palestinian people began on Thursday. The delegation visited communities near Bethlehem and Hebron, to the south of the West Bank.
Members of the FoEI Executive Committee and of the federation’s International Secretariat (based in The Netherlands), as well as delegates from different countries and members of the national group PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine visited the villages: Jubet al deeb (Bethlehem) and Beit Mersem (Hebron). The traditional activities in the area include olive production, grapes and sheep growing.
Israeli settlements in the area (nearly 650,000 in the West Bank), the seizing of land and the Israeli government’s control of water sources by its military are some of the main issues raised by the mission. This is a reality seen across all the Palestinian Territories. Water in the West Bank comes mainly from three sources: the eastern, the western and the northeastern aquifers. 82% of underground water in the West Bank is used by Israeli citizens, while the remaining 18% is used by the Palestinian citizens.
The mission, which supports the work of PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine, could also verify the pollution of water sources, that Israeli soldiers deny access to electricity to Palestinians in some villages, as well as the building of housing, free circulation and they ban the use of solar energy. Israel carries out military drills in Palestinian territory and their check-points are all over the place.
Under the dark shade of the Apartheid Wall, built by the Israeli authorities in 2002, Palestine has no environmental justice, it suffers the colonization and ethnic cleansing from the Israeli state. To the eyes of the world, Israel is displacing Palestinians from their lands, it is treating them badly, it violates their basic human rights and forces them into the exile or pushes them to extreme poverty, while it takes over more land around water sources. What about the international community? It is just about nice speeches, that is all.
Activist Abeer Al Butmeh of PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine summarized for Real World Radio the first day of the solidarity mission in the West Bank.
Imagen: Radio Mundo Real
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