Environmental protection in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has been difficult to achieve due to the Israeli occupation and its associated regime. Palestinians across the OPT endure many violations of their environmental rights with no effective remedies available to them to demand justice. In 2014, Al-Haq, in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, invited three environmental experts to investigate the environmental situation in the OPT and detail the obstacles to environmental justice across the OPT.
Al-Haq’s new publication ‘Environmental Injustice in Occupied Palestinian Territory: Problems and Prospects’ considers the domestic environmental justice ‘lacuna’ in the OPT. As the Occupying Power, Israel has specific responsibilities and obligations related to the environment under international law. The report, however, provides that Palestinians have no effective means of obtaining environmental justice domestically through independent and impartial judicial hearings. Israeli courts offer limited, if any, avenues for justice or remedies for environmental violations. In this regard, the publication addresses the scope for remedies for environmental injustices as a shared concern among the judiciaries of the world, as well as international courts or quasi-judicial organizations. It also defines entry-points for a rights-based approach to environmental violations in the OPT.
The publication further examines environmental justice in the context of the Palestinian refugee camps. This section discusses the delicate tension between environmental protection in the camps and the ‘right to return’.
This publication aims to contribute to the concept of ‘environmental justice’, especially as pertaining to marginalized communities. Further, the report was presented by the experts at the 2015 International Conference of Critical Geography (ICCG), entitled ‘Precarious Radicalism on Shifting Grounds: Towards a Politics of Possibility’ and held in Ramallah from the 26-30 of July 2015.