2017 marks 50 years since Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian territory. During this period, Israel has implemented a variety of policies and practices in order to maintain and seize further control over the territory, while creating uninhabitable living conditions for the Palestinian population. This comes despite Israel’s obligations, as the Occupying Power, to protect the environment and the well-being of the protected population.
Al-Haq’s new briefing paper “An Environmental Approach: The Protection of Natural Resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” highlights Israel’s violations of international law- including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international environmental law- in relation to the protection of Palestinian natural resources. The paper demonstrates the applicability of international environmental law within the OPT, as well as the prospect for using multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in ensuring the protection of natural resources and the environment. In doing so, the brief highlights examples on the potential for using such agreements to hold Israel accountable for its environmental degradation and exploitation of resources.
International environmental law can provide further avenues to guarantee the protection of natural resources and the environment under a prolonged occupation. The paper concludes that in light of the basic human rights violations caused by Israel’s actions, as well as the socio-economic inequalities which are exacerbated as a result, an environmental justice approach should be at the center of the Palestinian environmental movement.