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.”