The Israel-Palestine Conflict

The Ecological Consequences Of Conflict

By Akshaye Mavinkurve

Disclaimer: The Israel-Palestine is a complex conflict with a diverse viewpoints and perspectives on the conflict. The article does not assume or take any political position on the issue. The objective of the article is to map out the ecological and public health consequences of the conflict on the people living in the area.

The Israel- Palestine conflict recently intensified with both sides firing rockets towards each side. As a consequence of the escalated conflict, many people on both sides have been injured and killed. The conflict is one of the most heart-breaking conflicts of recent memory. Recent tensions between Israeli and Palestinian governments led to both sides firing rockets towards each other thus destroying buildings and causing damages. While the geopolitical and economic consequences are often discussed, there is little to no discussion of its ecological consequences and the effect of the conflict on people’s physical and mental health.

Picture by DEZALB | Taken from Pixabay

The destruction of buildings in civilian areas causes catastrophic environmental and health issues. One notable example is the “World Trade Centre bombings” commonly known as 9/11. Terrorist group Al-Qaeda hijacked multiple planes and flew right through the World Trade Centre destroying the building with the massive debris falling all through the area causing devastating environmental and health issues. First responders and people in the vicinity of the WTC faced devastating health issues. There was a higher probability of developing mesothelioma, a tumour of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. There were also huge risks to pregnant women as there was a two-fold increase in the number of small-for-gestational-age baby’s.

A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) conducted an environment impact at the Gaza Strip showed that the area faced serious problems that can be attributed to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Settlements around the Gaza Strip faced various problems from contamination to asbestos to landfills.

One of the main issues of the conflict is dispute over freshwater resources. Desertification and water scarcity go hand in hand. As human activity has increased at the West Bank areas, equitable water distribution is becoming a difficult job in the region. That has not stopped the huge increase of water usage in the regions which has been leading to the desertification of lands in Israel and West Bank. Significant progress was made for peace between Israel and Palestine in the 90s and that included a more cooperative method of water distribution. But conflicts between the two once again eliminated all progress made in the 90s.

Due to the growing conflict over the years, these issues have become worse and as both sides focus more on flaming the conflict rather than invest in these ecological disasters, the Israeli and Palestinian territories could face serious ecological problems.

Picture by Hatem Moussa | All rights to the picture belong to Hatem Moussa and AP.

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