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Israeli Environmental Protection of Palestinian Land

Uri Gnorant of the Israeli Bureau of Land Redemption was eager to see me. “I’m glad you’re here,” he said. “You reporters talk about how little we do for Palestinians. This is a chance to set the record straight. When it comes to environmental protection and conservation, no one could possibly do more than we do.

“Take water, for example. We have reduced Palestinian water consumption to less than a third of what it was in 1967. Nowhere in the world can boast such an accomplishment. Even the Israelis themselves cannot match it. Villages like Beit Furik and Beit Dajan, with a combined population of around 15,000 get by on only 12 tanker loads of water per day during the summer, and sometimes less, supplemented by some filthy ground water for their vegetable gardens. You can’t do better than that.

“Or fire prevention. You remember the terrible Carmel forest fire that we had in 2010? You never see anything like that in Palestinian areas, and this is because we removed a lot of the trees as a preventive measure. Some people say that the Carmel fire was due to the dead non-native European trees that we planted to hide hundreds of Palestinian villages that we destroyed in 1948, and that Palestinian olive and other fruit trees don’t have the same problem. Let me assure you that olive trees also burn, as our settlers have amply demonstrated. The solution is for them to be removed, which is the policy that we have put in place and are diligently pursuing.

“Our protection of the Palestinian marine environment in Gaza is also unmatched. Over the last twenty years, we have progressively put larger and larger areas under protection from fishing, so that now the area available for fishing is less than a fifth of what it used to be, and most of the fish are not in that area, anyway. We can assure you that there will be no overfishing in Palestinian waters!

“There are many other ways that we protect the environment that is exposed to Palestinian abuse. For example, Palestinian women have gathered wild herbs like thyme and sesame for thousands of years on the hills and in the valleys of what used to be called Palestine. We have put a stop to that and made it illegal, so as to protect these plants from further exploitation.

“We also can’t have grazing animals like sheep and goats eating up the natural herbs and grasses in the pastures. If Palestinians want fresh meat, let them buy their feed from Israeli merchants like nature intended, or get frozen meat from New Zealand, which we are happy to sell to the humanitarian organizations that keep Palestinians alive.

“As we know, however, human activity inevitably damages the environment in one way or another, no matter what policies we put in place. Our long term policy is therefore to eliminate as many of the Palestinian people as possible from as many places as possible that are under Israeli control, and also to expand the areas under Israeli control for the same reason.

“As you can see, our commitment to environmental protection of Palestinian land is unshakeable. ”

Settlers setting fire to Palestinian olive groves, ‘Urif, 26.5.2012, Raw footage

8 Responses to Israeli Environmental Protection of Palestinian Land

  1. etominusipi August 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Barb, your dedication to setting the record straight is second to none. the media all too readily give attention to those who despoil the Holy Land, whereas those who really know what is happening on the ground, acknowledged experts like Uri Gnorant, are granted minimal airtime and space in the (i’ll say it, it’s no secret any more!) Palestinian dominated press and mainstream TV channels.

    your article also brought back some happy memories for me. i know Uri personally from many years ago when he attended my postgraduate classes on psyops during the year’s secondment to AMCSUS Headquarters he undertook as part of his IDF training. in later years, on my many work-related trips to Israel, i often found occasion to visit Uri’s family in their heavily fortified penthouse on the Golan Heights. a close friendship was forged when it was discovered that both the Gnorants and myself could trace our families back to the survivors of an 18th century pogrom in the Byelorussian village of Znamnichevo!

    Uri was a great student. but even at that tender age i could see he was more than anything else a humanitarian, so it did not entirely take me by surprise when he wrote me to say he was accepting a job as an environmental spokesperson for the Israeli government.

    he is one of those who are active in making the world a better place.

    keep up the super journalism!


    Gen. Aaron Lewitsky (rtd)

    • Barb Weir August 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Thank you, General Lewitsky. Do you know Gen. M. Nesti, also retired? His career was at its height during the Oslo Accords, but I haven’t heard his name mentioned for years. His family is Tchernirussian, from Otvyazhis’. The last I heard he had a Kahlua import business.

      • etominusipi August 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm #


        know him! oy veh! did i know him? well, who knew him? but i did share office space with him when i was a wet-behind-the-ears young intern.

        blessed with a rare strategic insight he was already carving out a name for himself – in fact the first draft of Oslo was based on a widely circulated top secret document which was usually referred to, in code, as ‘that Nesti crap’.

        young Benny Netanyahu never liked him, and was overheard whispering to Ehud “the last man we want on this Trojan horse is Moshe the Peacenik”! as you probably know, Peacenik is one of the most insulting words in the vast vocabulary of modern Hebrew expletives.

        the problem was really due to a long-standing affair Moshe had kept up with a girl who belonged to the תנועת שלום עכשיו
        i am still not at liberty to reveal her name, or the details of the inquiry which followed the discovery of such an embarrassing fact, but nobody disputes that this was what provoked the rather sudden switch from military tactician to international businessman. I can reveal that Moshe’s passion for good coffee is a lifelong love affair, no mere marriage of convenience.

        if you should chance to see him, or any of his large family, pass on a shalom from me.

        PS, my daughter Titzi is a keen student of history and asked me to pass on that the village you refer to, Tchernirussian in Otvyazhis’, was originally named for a seventeenth century folk-hero, an Armenian negro known as ‘Rus’ – who abandoned his fur-trapping business to devote himself to rescuing Jewish families from the frequent pogroms which,in those dark days, they were subjected to in that part of the empire. he adopted the faith, and took three Jewish wives, one of whom was the lineal descendent of a Khazar princess. !עולם קטן

        yrs Aaron

        ps i hope you enjoy the matzos i have included with this letter.

  2. Blake August 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I have to say that was hilarious (even though it was at the expense of the Palestinian suffering).

  3. sparrow August 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    The best concise description I have seen yet of this aspect of Israeli Benevolent Protectionism (to be expanded throughout the Middle East within the Israeli Co-Prosperity Zone).


    • Barb Weir August 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Thank you, Sparrow. It’s very courageous of you to join in a discussion that includes Israeli hawk Lewitsky.

  4. who_me August 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    as this article shows, there is absolutely nothing like jewish israeli altruism.

  5. Laura Stuart August 5, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    I can add to that Barb, that the illegal siege on Gaza has protected the natural beauty of the beaches there. Without the siege Gazans may have been able to destroy the landscape with ugly hotels similar to most the Mediterranean resorts in Egypt and Tunisia.

    From my experience tourism has brought unfortunate consequences for Muslim countries, such as having to serve alcohol and worst of all the child sex tourism that goes on in Tunisia and Morocco.

    One good thing about Gaddafis Libya was no tourism and no alcohol.

    Last time I was in Gaza I really felt that maybe God/Allah moves in mysterious ways and whilst the situation there is totally unacceptable by all means, it has also some benefits.

    Israel’s building projects in occupied Palestine are mostly ugly and painful to the eye especially by comparison to the old photos we see of Palestine where the people lived in total harmony with the land.

    Of course the people should have water etc but I always try to look for the silver lining in every cloud and the fact that in some places occupation has left Palestinian society unburdoned with rampant materialism may just be a little blessing in disguise.