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Israeli occupation is ‘most critical long-term threat to the Palestinian environment,’ Cop26 told

PALESTINE’S vulnerability to the climate crisis is being exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, Palestinian politicians have warned world leaders at Cop26. 

Speaking at the global summit in Glasgow on Monday, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh branded the 50-year Israeli occupation as the “most critical long-term threat to the Palestinian environment.” 

Open sewage from illegal settlements and Israel’s dumping of toxic waste on Palestinian land are the main causes of pollution, Mr Shtayyeh told world leaders. 

In Gaza, 95 per cent of the groundwater is contaminated because Israel’s crippling siege of the coastal strip makes the treatment of sewage water impossible, he added. 

The prime minister said that while Palestine was committed to tackling climate change, “the Israeli occupation is the major stumbling block to sustainable development.”

Palestinian ambassador to Britain Dr Husam Zomlot stressed that Palestine is unable to cope with the effects of the climate crisis because “we are not in control of our land or our people.”

He told the Morning Star: “Palestine has a very particular situation and it might be the only country on Earth [whose] main source of pollution is … a third party.

“[Those are] the special circumstances, because every country stood there and stated their responsibilities, commitments, what they can do, [but] Palestine has no control of these angles.

“We wanted to tell the world two messages: we are with you; however, if you want to deal with global climate change, if you want to combat this as a human family, pay attention to the Israeli Nakba on our environment.

“For us to be able to contribute to the global effort, this issue must be resolved.”

Israel’s devastation of Palestinian lands has repeatedly been called out by researchers and campaigners.

The term “environmental Nakba” was previously used in a 2012 Friends of the Earth report to describe Israel’s pollution of the occupied territories, theft of water resources and felling of hundreds of thousands of trees.

It said: “If there is one place in the world where the harm done to the environment is so evidently linked to social and political injustices inflicted by a single people, it’s Palestine.”

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