Environmental Studies students from the Middle East: “Where do we go from here?”

Anxiety about the environment cuts across all local and national conflict, and environmentalists in the Middle East understand that it is simply not possible to isolate each other. Such a sense of a shared existence is the bedrock of a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

At the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies in Israel’s Negev Desert, Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and American Environmental Studies students consider coexistence and ask “Where do we go from here“? These students give some of the most powerful arguments for peace that I have read in a while.

“The recent violence in Gaza and southern Israel has weighed heavily on the students here – possibly the only place in Israel where Palestinian and Israeli students continue to look each other in the eye day-to-day and ponder their common present and future.  Needless to say, their studies, as in the rest of Israel and Palestine, have been disrupted directly and indirectly by tragic current events.  But here, uniquely, we are trying to use the event to strengthen our collective vision, rather than further divide.

Within the context of our pre-scheduled lecture on regional environmental policy (with guest lecturer, Green Movement-Meimad candidate Dr. Shmuel Brenner), I asked the students three questions regarding their vision of the future for the region, and how we we get from where we are now to where we want to be.”

Read the whole thing on Greener Israel, the unofficial blog of Israel’s new political party, the Israel Green Movement – Meimad.


4 thoughts on “Environmental Studies students from the Middle East: “Where do we go from here?”

  1. Mira Vogel Post author

    Did you mean to put this on the earlier piece, redgreen?

    If ethnic diversity is all you’re interested in then you should leave the Greens and get into New Labour 😉

    As for the ban on Balad and UAL, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled (convincingly and early) as expected: they are back on the ballot. I don’t really understand these goings-on where the political right manage to introduce policy which is then overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court acting as the guardian of constitutional rights. There must be a better way. My non-existent political science fails me.

    I might ban in some circumstances. I guess you would too, Rosso. Would you have Kach back, for example? Surely there are some political debates which shouldn’t be had – like whether or not to expel non-Jewish Arabs from Israel. That, after all, is what Kach want. Israel banned them years ago.

  2. Rosso Verde

    yeah I put it on the wrong article Doh!

    Ethnic diversity is one of only many reasons I like Hadash, I’d like them to work with Israeli Greens which they do. Dov ran for Mayor of Tel Aviv and got 34.3% of the vote – pretty amazing for someone from a Non-Zionist (rather than anti- zionist) Party, who is a bit of a hate figure for the right in Israel.

    Glad the supreme court in Israel overturned the ban.
    Of course the Kach ban was sensible, but Yisrael Beiteinu are as bad, same racist attitude.

  3. Mira Vogel Post author

    Not in the same league as Kach. More like the BNP. I think that if England were where Israel is now, the BNP would want to redraw the map, and would be incentivising non-Anglos to leave. Whereas the National Front would be up for driving them out, as Kach was.

    Dov Khenin’s Knesset page – note the tabs, and the ways in to looking at the shape of previous Israeli governments.

    For Hebrew or Arabic readers, Hadash’s site. I think, based on all I have read, that they fail to properly come to terms with the existential worries of most Israeli voters. The regional allergy to a state for Jews used to be expressed as Arab nationalism, these days Islamism is waxing. Hadash is inadequate on this topic, and that’s – I would imagine – most their trouble – so many of their other policies depend on a sense of security among Israelis. To most Israelis they sound dangerous. You don’t just end a blockade – you explain what you want to put in place instead which will allow Gazans to live a dignified life while protecting your voters. Otherwise – simple – you don’t get votes. And before you rightly point out that this is precisely the reason why we must strive for a no-state solution, let me agree. However, that eventually will come if at all after mutual guarantees of personal safety, not before. We are far from that now. What to do?

    It’s weird – sometimes I feel as if I’m more idealistic for wanting some substance – explanations, contingencies – from pundits and wannabe policy makers than many Marxist-Leninists are idealistic for wanting to end the occupation unilaterally. But I know that I’m not. 🙂


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