West Bank annexation will threaten Israel’s natural resources, institute warns
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West Bank annexation will threaten Israel’s natural resources, institute warns

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies says applying sovereignty would endanger scientific collaboration with Jordanians and Palestinian, weaken resilience to climate change

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Students work in the field at the Arava Institute. (Courtesy)
Students work in the field at the Arava Institute. (Courtesy)

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies has appealed to incoming Defense Minister Benny Gantz to oppose annexing parts of the West Bank, warning that such a move would threaten Israel’s ability to protect its natural resources and weaken its resilience in the face of climate change.

“We at the Arava Institute fear that the new government’s current path toward annexation risks extinguishing the ability of the Arava Institute, and other peace-building organizations, to continue the critical work we carry out with our Palestinian and Jordanian partners,” the institute wrote in a letter.

“This work is not part of the right/left political spectrum, and it has been supported by Israeli governments over time; our constituency is the planet Earth and the human beings who populate it,” it said.

More than 1,400 Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and international leaders have taken part in the institute’s environmental study program on Kibbutz Ketura in the southern Arava.

The organization has also enlisted international diplomatic partners from the EU and the US, as well as institutions such as Oxford University, to create a framework for cross-border environmental cooperation and peace-building.

The institute’s scientists work with Jordanian and Palestinian counterparts to promote sustainable solutions for food production, wastewater treatment, drinking water and renewable energy in rural communities in the Negev, West Bank, Gaza, and southern Jordan.

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