Written by Ali Abunimah
The Israeli government is launching a new international propaganda campaign, featuring ads on CNN International, that seeks to brand Israel as a haven of green technologies and environmentalism.
But don’t expect the campaign to talk about the environmental catastrophes brought about by Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Ynet reports in Hebrew that the ads will focus on Israel’s supposed prowess in “green technologies” with claims that Israel is a world leader in water desalination, that 40 percent of its drinking water is desalinated, and that 70 percent of Israeli sewage is recycled and used in agriculture.
These technologies, the ads will claim, are of benefit to people all over the world.
Israel’s effort to shift the focus away from its occupation, oppression and colonization of Palestinians and their land, has in recent years taken the form of “pinkwashing” – using Israel’s supposed tolerance for gay rights to market it as a liberal haven.
The strategy of “greenwashing” is intended to work in a similar manner.
Environmental catastrophes brought about by Israel
Yet, the “greenwashing” strategy should provide new opportunities for the Palestine solidarity movement to focus on the environmental catastrophes Israel has created on land, sea and air.
Some of the things the Green Israel ad campaign is unlikely to talk about:
According to the OECD, Israeli “water quality” is ranked 35 out of 36 countries, better only than the Russian Federation. Israel’s water score “is much lower than the OECD average” according to the OECD, “and suggests Israel still faces difficulties in providing good quality water to its inhabitants.”
Similar problems face air quality: Israel is ranked 27 out of 36 for harmful particulate matter in the air and, “Particulate matter and ground-level ozone concentrations frequently exceed limit values for the protection of human health.”
Because of Israeli discrimination, Palestinians face severe shortages of water,a report from Amnesty International found. Palestinians are systematically denied water for basic needs, and hundreds of thousands don’t even have running water. Israel hogs 80 percent of the water from the West Bank’s main aquifer, while allowing Palestinians a mere 20 percent. In the West Bank, 450,000 settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.
The fact that 95 percent of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption due to Israel’s siege and military attacks, and the use of desalination technology as a means to further isolate Gaza.
The frequent contamination of Palestinian villages by flows of raw sewage from Israeli settlements;
The systematic destruction of trees to facilitate settler takeover of land, such as in Wadi Qana, an area of rare natural beauty that is now also awash in settler sewage.
The threat of destruction of the West Bank village of Battir’s ancient irrigation and ecosystem by Israel’s colonization and apartheid wall – which has led to an emergency application to UNESCO to try to save the area.
Israel’s further entrenchment in the occupied West Bank under the guise of supposedly environmental companies like Better Place, which build settlement infrastructure.
These are just a few examples of Israel’s environmental record of shame, but you won’t be seeing them on CNN.