Thursday, January 16, 2020

It's not natural

This blog has already highlighted the manner which nature conservation is used as a political weapon such as the creation of a marine park in the Chagos Islands to prevent its people from returning and the eviction of local peoples from safari parks in Africa [see here]

It now appears that the Israeli government have now joined the trend. Israel's defence minister has announced the creation of seven nature reserves in the occupied West Bank as part of efforts to maintain Israeli control of the area, saying the move would strengthen Israel and further develop Jewish settlements. The sites are all located in what is known as Area C of the West Bank that includes the strategic Jordan Valley, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in September he planned to annex.  the Israeli-run reserves would be "under the responsibility" of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority. He also announced the expansion of 12 existing West Bank sites managed by the Israeli authority, including Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves between 1947 and 1956.

According to Israeli human rights organisation Peace Now, the designated reserves total about 5,300 hectares (13,096 acres), some 40 percent of it under private Palestinian ownership. Under Israel laws regulating nature reserves, Palestinians would be forbidden to cultivate their own land, the Peace Now's Hagit Ofran said.
"If it's a nature reserve, then you can uproot their trees and tell them they need a special permit for any agricultural activity. It will be easier now to evict Palestinians from there."

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