Environmental justice - course participants

“My preconceptions were put to the test”

Environmental Justice Course ends with a summary session

On the weekend of 9-10 December 2016, the School for Peace successfully completed a 14 month training course for Jewish and Arab environmental justice leaders from around the country. This is the second such course that the SFP has conducted. It consisted of several components: a deep dialogue on the nature of the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel, lectures that focused on the issue of environmental justice and the context of the conflict, three field trips and a practical project. The course was facilitated by Harb Amara, Nava Sonnenschein and Prof. Daniel Rabinowitz.

On the final weekend of the course, we heard two fascinating lectures: one by Dr. Orly Ronen, who discussed the ecological footprint of the urban space, and one by Eco Peace director Gidon Bromberg, who spoke on the issue of water between Israel and Palestine and Eco Peace activities that address this. In the afternoon we dealt with an online environmental hazards mapping project. On Saturday we heard a summary lecture by Prof. Rabinowitz, conducted a discussion and distributed certificates.

From the closing Remarks of the participants

A male Jewish participant: “Acquaintance with the Arab narrative is very important, my preconceptions were put to the test.”
A female Arab participant: “I started looking at this issue from perspective and began to realize how I contribute to environmental justice between the two peoples”.
A male Arab participant: “I am charging my batteries here – our batteries get charged and then we get out to work. An Arab-Jewish Partnership will lead to something.”
A female Jewish participant: “It was important to see with my own eyes, on the tour (of the South Hebron Hills and Comet-ME), the huge gap in access to environmental resources and likewise to recognize the activity for change, the personal risks involved in such activities, as well as to witness the places where people are managing to make a difference.” The participants left with a feeling that they wished to work for environmental equality and justice: in the educational field, in planning, in local authorities and in the Water Authority.

Summary session, environmental justice course