The Ecologist


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Bernie Sanders in Saturday's debate for the Democratic Presidential primaries, 14th November 2015. Photo: Still from CBS News.

Bernie Sanders is right - climate change is a massive global security threat

Farron Cousins / DeSmogBlog

17th November 2015

Remarks by Bernie Sanders that climate change is a major driver of global instability and terror, he was mocked by Republican Presidential contenders. But the argument is a familiar one to the CIA and the Department of Defense, which has itself released strong warnings on the issue. Is it time the GOP got with the beat? more...
Israel's exploitation of wind energy in the occupied Golan Heights is legal under international law because it does not deplete the territory's natural capital. But oil drilliing would violate that principle. Photo: Yuval Shoshan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Israel to annex Golan Heights after 'billion barrel' oil find

Jonathan Cook / Middle East Eye

15th November 2015

After a massive oil find in Syria's Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, Israel is asking President Obama to recognise its annexation of the territory, writes Jonathan Cook. To consolidate its hold, plans are afoot to quadruple Israeli settler numbers to 100,000. more...
A Palestinan woman protecting an olive tree from destruction. Photo: via Frank M. Rafik on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime

Dr. Cesar Chelala

7th November 2015

The uprooting and cutting down of over a million olive and fruit trees in occupied Palestine since 1967 is an attack on a symbol of life, and on Palestinian culture and survival, writes Dr. Cesar Chelala. A grave crime under international humantarian law, the arboricide is also contrary to Jewish religious teachings. more...
New building in Masdar City with an old twist. Photo: André Diogo Moecke via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Traditional architecture offers relief from soaring temperatures in the Gulf

Amin Al-Habaibeh, Nottingham Trent University

8th November 2015

As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge. more...
A bull from Romania meets a grisly death in Gaza following trans-shipment through Israel, winter 2014. Photo: Compassion in World Farming.

EU must end its cruel exports of live animals

Peter Stevenson

3rd October 2015

The EU's long-distance trade in live cattle to the Middle East inflicts horrendous cruelty at every point from farm to slaughter, writes Peter Stevenson, as well as posing public health risks due to grossly insanitary conditions. Live animal exports for meat should be stopped and replaced with a humane trade in refrigerated meat and carcasses. more...
Plenty more where that came from under the desert sands. Garage in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Jon Bowen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Yemen in dust, blood and flames, and the world is silent. Could it be oil?

Martha Mundy

25th September 2015

There's a plan afoot in Yemen, writes Martha Mundy, but no one is telling you about it. It's a plan so big that a country of 20 million people has to be starved and bombed into total submission, yet the world is indifferent. Yes, its oil. Lots of oil, and gas too, and lakes of fossil water, all lurking beneath the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula. How do we know? Because they told us. more...
Holed Palestinian water tanks, destroyed by armed settlers in the old city of Hebron. Photo: ISM Palestine via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Think California's drought is bad? Try Palestine's

Laith Shakir

23rd August 2015

As World Water Week kicks off in Stockholm today with a theme of 'Water for Development', the drought being deliberately inflicted on Palestinians is firmly off the agenda, writes Laith Shakir. While Israelis water their lawns, irrigate crops and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinian communities a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst. more...
Residents of Kh. Basaliyeh putting out fire caused by military’s training. Between Kh. Basaliyeh and Humsah. Photo: ‘Aref Daraghmeh,, B’Tselem, 25 June 2015.

Israel's military exercises ravage Palestine's Jordan Valley

The Ecologist

1st July 2015

Last month Palestinians of the Jordan Valley suffered a punitive regime of military exercises that displaced hundreds of people, set fire to farmland and holed water tanks - all part of Israel's plans to annex the region for Jewish settlements. more...
The JNF-sponsored Yatir Forest advances over a hill towards the Bedouin village of Atir. Photo: Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag.

Israel's Forest of Yatir to expand over Bedouin village

Amjad Iraqi / 972 Mag & The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

It should be good news, but it's not. Israel's largest man-made forest is set for enlargement, but at the expense of a village where a Bedouin community has lived since they were resettled there in 1956. Its sister village is to be demolished so a new Jewish town can be built on its ruins. more...
A pair of Northern Bald Ibis engaged in courtship at their nest in the Palmyra desert the year of the rediscovery (2002). Photo: Gianluca Serra.

The Northern Bald Ibis is extinct in the Middle East - but we can't blame it on IS

Gianluca Serra

29th May 2015

Reports that Syria's iconic Northern Bald Ibis colony is endangered by IS's capture of Palmyra are mistaken, writes Gianluca Serra. The species is already extinct as a breeding population for reasons unconnected with IS. The war that is destroying Syria came only as the last straw for a long-dwindling species whose plight the world chose to ignore. more...
The edge of an experimental sheep grazing exclusion zone (to the right) within Al Talila Reserve, Palmyra, photographed in March 2008 in the midst of an intense drought period. Sheep quasi uncontrolled grazing was allowed to the left of the fence. Grazing

Over-grazing and desertification in the Syrian steppe are the root causes of war

Gianluca Serra

5th June 2015

Civil war in Syria is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe, writes Gianluca Serra - a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a 'rural intifada' of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves. more...
Love and peace! Boys in the Jerash Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan gather to raise their hands in peace signs. Photo: Omar Chatriwala via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Undefeated after 67 years, Palestinians' thirst for peace and justice

Johnny Barber

15th May 2015

Today is Nakba day - when Palestinians everywhere remember in their native land, stolen homes, demolished villages and long-lost way of life with grief, anger and a deep yearning that endures from generation to generation, writes Johnny Barber. more...

Middle East: 1/25 of 60
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A boy herding cattle near Mentao refugee camp in Burkina Faso. More than 18 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region are hungry and malnourishedas a result of the crisis. Photo: DFATD | MAECD via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Rebellion and hunger - how drought and food scarcity are fanning the flames of war

Nafeez Ahmed

13th May 2015

Food and water shortages and sharp price hikes in the necessities of life are driving civil unrest and rebellion across the Middle East and North Africa, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Adding to the problem, many of the afflicted countries are of strategic importance for their oil and gas, putting them on the front line of destabilizing 'counter-terrorism' operations. more...
A protest in Kafr ad Dik village in February 2012 against the theft of land by nearby 'settlers'. Now it's the village's soil that is being stolen. Photo: KafrAdDeek via Wikimedia Commons (CC Public Domain).

Israelis steal fertile soil from Palestinian farms

The Ecologist

22nd April 2015

Not satisfied with seizing Palestinian land and water, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have found a new way to enrich themselves at their neighbors' expense - by stealing their fertile soil and transporting it to their own farms and gardens. more...
A Palestinian child clambering in a date palm on an Israeli settlement farm - from cover of the HRW report 'Ripe for Abuse - Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank'.

Ripe for abuse - Palestinian child labour in Israel's West Bank settlement farms

Human Rights Watch / The Ecologist

29th April 2015

Palestinian children as young as 11 work on Israeli farms in the occupied West Bank, an HRW investigation reveals. While the EU buys produce worth $300m a year from the illegal 'settlements', undocumented child labourers are exposed to pesticides, paid well below the minimum wage, enjoy no employment rights, and toil long hours in hot fields and greenhouses. more...
A toxic trail of chemical pollution and uranium ash from DU munitions: the infamous 'Highway of Death' from Kuwait across the Iraqi desert in Gulf War 1, in 1991. Photo: Bryan Dorrough via Flickr (CC BY).

Iraq seeks help in its fight to overcome the toxic fallout of war and terror

Wim Zwijnenburg / Insight on Conflict

8th April 2015

Iraq is working hard to remediate the environmental impacts of two Gulf wars and Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons programme, writes Wim Zwijnenburg. But it now faces new hazards deliberately caused by Islamic State - and is in desperate need of international support. more...
In March 2012 the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) rallied on the Mediterranean Sea between the Gaza seaport and Beit Lahia to protest Israeli naval attacks on Palestinian fishermen and demand the return of fishing boats seized by Israel. Sinc

Israel escalates deadly attacks on Gaza's fishers

Charlie Hoyle

12th March 2015

Under the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last August, Gaza's fishers were meant to be able to work up to six miles from the coast, writes Charlie Hoyle. In fact, Israel is routinely attacking boats within the zone, arresting fishermen, and seizing boats and nets, never to be returned. Only last week, one fisherman was shot dead after allegedly straying over an invisible boundary. more...
The destroyed Bab Amro neighbourhood of Homs through a blooming field of poppies, 2nd May 2012. Photo: Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Climate change sparked Syria's ruinous war

Alex Kirby

6th March 2015

Climate change probably caused the savage drought that struck Syria nearly a decade ago, writes Alex Kirby - and helped to trigger the civil war that has so far claimed over 200,000 lives. more...
Oil pipelines in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Photo: Tim Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Where there's war, oil, gas and pipelines are never far away

John Foster

4th March 2015

Look beneath the surface of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and what do you find? Oil, gas, and contested pipeline transit routes. Never mind high-sounding talk of human rights, national sovereignty, international law and UN Resolutions, writes John Foster - fossil energy is the world's main driver of armed conflict. more...
Olive tree cut by Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in the South Hebron Hills. Photo: Operation Dove.

Arboricide in Palestine - olive orchard destroyed

The Ecologist

25th February 2015

Israeli settlers in Palestine's South Hebron Hills last week cut down an orchard of 36 olive trees, in the latest attack of a decades-long war against Palestinian culture and survival in which has seen the cutting, burning and bulldozing of over a million olive, fruit and nut trees. more...
Palestinian demands for freedom and justice will never be relinquished. The Palestinian flag flying at a demonstration at Bil'in on the West Bank. Photo: Adam Walker Cleaveland.

Palestine: occupied or annexed? Israel must end the ambiguity

Tony Klug

7th December 2014

Israel has exploited the legal ambiguity of its military rule of Palestinian territories, writes Tony Klug - cherry-picking Israeli law, Ottoman law and Geneva Conventions to suit its purposes. Israel must now decide - is it an occupation, or an annexation? Only once that decision is made, can Israel's slide towards apartheid be halted. more...
Bringing in the olive harvest. Photo: Zaytoun.

Olive oil for peace and justice in Palestine

Cathi Pawson

11th December 2014

Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ain died yesterday after being attacked by Israeli soldiers while planting olive trees in the West Bank - a peaceful and fruitful challenge to a long and brutal military occupation. As Zaytoun co-founder Cathi Pawson writes, we can help by buying organic Palestinian olive oil, available in the UK against all the odds. more...
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has declared an Emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding. Photo: UNWRA.

Flood 'emergency' strikes Gaza City

The Ecologist

29th November 2014

Following Israel's destruction of much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure in Israel's summer 2014 attacks, the territory's drainage systems have been unable to cope with heavy rains, and the UN has declared a state of emergency in Gaza City. more...
MAP is deeply concerned by the refusal of access to a medical practitioner into Gaza. Following the recent conflict thousands of Palestinians in Gaza require specialised surgical treatment and it is imperative that the right to health is unimpeded. Photo:

Israel bans heroic Norwegian doctor from Gaza for life

Ben Norton

16th November 2014

Mads Gilbert, a renowned 67-year old doctor and human rights activist who has saved innumerable lives in Gaza by working right through Israel's two most recent military attacks, has been banned by Israel from entering the territory for life. His 'crime'? Apart from healing the shattered bodies of Palestinians, he has dared to speak out about the horrors he witnessed. more...
Krak des Chevaliers, the greatest of all the crusader castles, located in modern day Syria. Gavin Bannerman via Flickr.

Crusaders and Zionists

Uri Avnery

12th October 2014

The words 'Crusaders' and 'Zionists' are appearing ever more often as twins, writes Uri Avnery - and there are astonishing historical resonances between the two. If Israel wants to avoid the fate of the medieval Crusaders, it had better start accentuating the differences, and become a true Middle Eastern state, rooted in the region's native soil and culture. more...


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