Holy Land Trust received a European Commission grant under the EU Peacebuilding Initiative (EUPI) in 2019 to implement a three year program on peacemaking in the region, starting January 1, 2020. This project was in cooperation with the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center.
The aim of this initiative is to invite both Palestinian and Israeli activists to new means of addressing the Israeli occupation and peacemaking that go beyond the traditional spheres of dialogue and political discussions. The intention is to form groups that actively address the occupation through the means of connecting their activism to the ecological and environmental challenges faced due to the occupation itself.
For the most part, the occupation is viewed as a pure “political” issue and therefore the solution is seen as reaching a political agreement. Even when ecological issues are discussed in negotiations (such as water, land, etc.), the agenda is not in how to maintain and protect these resources, but how to distribute them and control them.
The occupation is not just political. The damage done by the occupation to nature and its resources is immense and is often completely ignored. Land, water, air, flora, and fauna have all been affected directly by the Israeli occupation, the illegal settlement, the separation wall, the overuse of water, the pollution, etc. This has affected all living creatures in the land as well as humans.
The aim of this action is to form groups that understand the interconnectedness between environmental justice and political justice; to create the learning needed to engage in resisting the occupation by looking into and addressing the ecological and environmental effects of the occupation and creating projects that embody resistance, resistance, and sustainability for Palestinians in the lands they live in.
The initial steps are to create a space of deep trust and understanding in the group. This is done by allowing for personal healing and transformation to take place, and second by engaging in resisting the occupation through exploring and addressing the ecological and environmental effects of the occupation. We also aim to create projects that embody resistance, resistance, and sustainability for Palestinians in the lands they live in.
The first phase of the program will be its implementation in the Jericho basin area. Israeli annexation and expansion of illegal settlements in the Jericho area has become an eminent threat. Palestinians in the area are not the only ones affected, the basin is one of the most fertile agricultural areas and water resources in the West Bank and therefore any action done by the Israeli occupation is a threat to Palestinian livelihood in the entire West Bank.
Palestinian and Israeli activists coming together to work on putting a stop to such a threat is key. This threat can be countered not only just my protesting for the cause, but also in creating sustainability and resiliency projects on issues related to energy, water, pollution control, etc.
The next phase of the project will be in the central region of the West Bank.
Holy Land Trust is thankful for the trust of the European Union in supporting and funding projects that move the Palestinian community forward in its aim to end the occupation, to create a strong civil society in the Palestinian territories and to bring a just peace to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.