“Following the Netanyahu-Abbas Paris handshake, the Palestinians have once again shown that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
“Decades of EU, US and UN billions of largesse have not prevented Palestinian continued self-inflicted ecological disaster.”
Paris, 6 December 2015
In a letter to COP21 Climate Change Conference President and French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested “European endorsement of Palestinian propaganda at this weekend’s session on Climate Change Planning in Conflict Settings: State of Palestine.”
Addressed by Swedish, Belgian and UN officials, discussion was based on a 2012 ZOI Geneva-based NGO report, entitled “Environment and Security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” All maps in this 56 page paper have “Palestine” super-imposed over all of Israel, West Bank and Gaza. This is explained as follows: “The word Palestine is used to refer to British Mandatory Palestine.”
“Notably, however, the Trans-Jordanian area of the Mandate is marked as ‘Jordan’,” observed Samuels. He also added an example of patent identity theft in the report’s claim that, “Potash was first exploited by Palestinians, during the British Mandate, through the Palestine Potish Company founded in 1929.” The Wiesenthal Centre explained that “this revisionism distorts the fact that all Jewish citizens of the Mandate held British colonial passports, stamped as ‘Palestinian’ and that, following the rebirth of Israel, the potash company – which had been founded by Palestinian Jews in 1929 –- was renamed the Dead Sea Works Ltd.”
The letter pointed to “photos throughout the report, featuring children playing soccer alongside a fence that hardly resembles a so-called ‘segregation wall’, or an infant filling a water container from a dripping tap supposedly illustrating an Israeli denial of water to the Palestinians.” See http://issuu.com/zoienvironment/docs/palestine
The session's stated aims were:
1. To enhance recognition of Palestine as part of the international community in dealing with climate change
2. To address challenges they face in implementing its mitigation and implementation plans
3. To highlight opportunities to move forward in better planning for climate change.
Indeed, such challenges raised included:
- Palestinian 3.7% population growth – among the highest in the world
- Diminishing water supply compounded by inefficient irrigation and water use
- Contamination from waste and excessive use of chemicals
- Pollution of the Mediterranean marine environment with faecal bacteria and pathogenic micro-organisms from Gaza.
Samuels expressed indignation that “this apparent Palestinian mea culpa was then twisted into an environmental attack on Israel.” He emphasized their absurd argument that “the recurrent environmental abuses of Israel had made Gaza and the West Bank highly to very highly vulnerable to climate change.”
“How would Israel technically keep Palestinian climate from crossing the green line?” mused the Centre, remarking that all speakers seemed to agree that “Israel should be held accountable.”
The Centre urged the COP21 President – who is also the French host’s Foreign Minister – “to publicly condemn the Palestinian pollution of his conference,” also drawing his attention to a 1867 ecological description of pre-Zionist Palestine by Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad pp. 361-362:
“… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse… a desolation… we never saw a human being on the whole route – hardly a tree anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country…”
Samuels underlined that “decades of European, United States and United Nations billions of largesse have not prevented Palestinian continued self-inflicted ecological disaster.” He wondered whether “the wish for a sustainable peace underpinning economic development and ecological protection is even shared by Israel's putative negotiating partner?”
“Hopeful comment followed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s handshake with President Abbas at the COP21... This was proven hollow by the described Palestinian environmental attack on Israel… To paraphrase the late Israeli statesman Abba Eban: ‘This hatefest session shows, once again, that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’,” concluded Samuels.