Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON)
|Founded||1996; became a member in Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) in 2008.|
|In their own words||“A coordinating body among different Palestinian NGOs working in the field of environment.”|
- PENGON does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- The European Union (via EIDHR) granted PENGON, alongside the Palestinian Hydrology Group, €261,853 in 2014 and €391,772 in 2013 for a program to “Strengthen capacity of Civil Society organisations in C area and Seam Zone to promote water as human right issue.”
- Aims to “coordinate Palestinian efforts, in order to resist and highlight the Israeli’s violations against Palestinian Environment, and Israel’s control on Palestinian natural resources.”
- According to its website, PENGON views “international advocacy as fundamental in its hopes to stop [Israeli] violations against our environment.”
- In contrast to the organization’s claims of promoting environmental agendas, PENGON regularly exploits environmental rhetoric, as well as water, land, and agricultural issues, in an effort to demonize and delegitimize Israel in the international arena.
- PENGON rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “colonization,” and “war crimes.”
- In January 2022, PENGON endorsed a campaign, “Global Days of Action for Palestine,” meant to “intensify protests against Israel’s dramatic escalation of violence and ethnic cleansing across Historic Palestine.”
- In November 2021, PENGON coordinator Abeer Butmeh participated in an event titled “How Apartheid Israel and Climate Change are Intertwined.” The event discussed “settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation,” as well as “defining steps to stop the Jewish National Fund and joint gas projects between Israel and the EU in the Mediterranean.”
- In August 2021, PENGON published a fact sheet titled “Israel’s Exploitation of Palestinian Natural Resources in Violation of International Law” accusing Israel of “systematic looting and destruction of Palestinian resources and wealth” and calling for the Palestinians to “put Israel under accountability in international courts and concerned committees to compensate for what was looted from them.”
- In November 2019, as part of a campaign that began in 2017, PENGON was a signatory on a call to support “A World Without Walls,” drawing comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, PENGON activist Abeer Butmeh called for the “international organizations to put an end to dealing with Israel as a State above the laws, that violates daily the international law in the absence of accountability, with the American green line to continued occupation and its war crimes against the Palestinian people.” Butmeh ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
- In January 2018, on the occasion of Land Day, PENGON accused Israel of “Zionist expansionism and massive Israeli land grabs,” and stated that “Apartheid, which is what we live under, is the atrocious conglomeration of colonialism, racism, denial of self-determination, and expulsion..”
- In September 2017, PENGON was a signatory on a call to restaurant chefs to “Take Apartheid off the Menu” and cancel their participation in the Tel Aviv “Round Tables Tour” as it “uses the time-honored tradition of sharing culinary experiences as a means for whitewashing widespread violation of Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right to food.”
- PENGON similarly signed this call in October 2016 stating that Tel Aviv is “the center of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and deeply complicit in whitewashing Israeli violations of Human Rights and International Law.”
- In October 2016, PENGON was a signatory on a call to restaurant chefs to “Take Apartheid off the Menu” and cancel their participation in the Tel Aviv “Round Tables Tour” as Tel Aviv is “the center of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and deeply complicit in whitewashing Israeli violations of Human Rights and International Law.”
- On September 1, 2016, PENGON signed a letter to the Italian Association of Farmers asking them to “rethink their sponsorship and participation” in the Israeli Watec Conference due to its “role in the grave violations of human rights and water rights” and compliance with the “water apartheid.”
- Issued a 2014 “Statement on Gaza,” accusing Israel of committing “daily massacres against Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” “war crimes,” “violations of international law,” “misus[ing] the notion of self-defense,” and maintaining that “Israel is nothing but a criminal entity that commits daily crimes against humanity and under cover of the entire world.”
- Published a September 2013 report, “Environmental Nakba: Environmental injustice and violations of the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” funded by the European Union, accusing Israel of “environmental crimes,” “systematic colonization,” “ethnic cleansing,” “colonization,” “apartheid,” and “land grabs.” The report goes on to claim that there “is also documentation of hazardous waste being smuggled into the West Bank from Israel for illegal dumping, and the occupying military forces dumping highly toxic and nuclear waste in the occupied territories.” The report maintains that “the concept of ‘environmental Nakba’ puts environmental injustices rightly in the context of the wider social injustices and human rights violations suffered by the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation.”
- Together with Friends of the Earth-Palestine and Palestinian Hydrology Group, published a March 2014 report, “Water Injustice in Palestine,” alleging that Israeli control over water resources has transformed Palestinian “villages and towns in large jails or ghettos.”
- Regularly promotes anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns, specifically focusing on land, water and environmental issues.
- In November 2019, PENGON coordinator Abeer Butmeh called for “global pressure on Israel to end climate apartheid through boycotts of the Israeli government and institutions and companies that are complicit in destroying the environment, violating our rights and profiting from our resources.This includes boycotting the international projects of Mekorot, which support water apartheid by depriving Palestinians of access to water and supplying Israel’s illegal settlements; boycotting all Israeli mejdoul dates, which are grown in the Jordan Valley using land and water stolen from Palestinians; and opposing Israel’s export of natural gas and electricity to Europe.”
- In March 2018, PENGON published an article about the EU’s energy projects with Israel, stating that “The EU has a legal duty of non-recognition, including the duty to give no aid or assistance in the maintenance of the unlawful situation created by Israel in the OPT with these serious violations. EU purchases of Israeli gas would enable substantial revenues to be used in Israel’s militarisation and de facto annexationist policies of the occupied Palestinian territory and appropriation and exploitation of its natural resources.”
- At a June 7, 2017 side event at the 35th session of UN Human Rights Council, Abeer Abtumeh from PENGON gave a lecture titled “Corporate impunity in 50 years of Palestine Occupation: Mekorot against human right to water.”
- Together with the Palestinian BDS National Committee and the Land Defence Coalition, organized a 2014 “International Week Against Mekorot,” between World Water Day and Palestinian “Land Day,” falsely claiming that Mekorot is “responsible for implementing ‘water apartheid’ on Palestinians, including the international crime of pillage of natural resources in occupied territory,” “discrimination against the Palestinian people as an ethnic group,” and “violations of international law and human rights.” It further goes on to urge the public “to intensify pressure on public authorities to exclude Mekorot from public contracts.” (See here for more on NGOs and the Libel Campaign Against the Mekorot Water Company.)
- In April 2014, PENGON joined an international boycott campaign against the Israeli company SodaStream, claiming the “Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise…are based on the pillage of our land and deplete and pollute our water resources” and that “[o]ver the last 40 years, Israeli occupation has cut hundreds of thousands of trees to make space for their colonization.” PENGON goes on to “call on all environmental organizations and activists to stand with us against the Israeli occupation and its systematic large scale destruction of our land.”
- In 2013, PENGON appealed to “environmental organisations around the world to refrain from working with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organisation responsible for the displacement of our people, theft of their property, colonisation of land and the destruction of the natural environment.”
- In May 2005 signed a petition calling for the academic boycott of Israel as a means to “isolate Apartheid Israel…forging effective solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and sovereignty.”
- A number of PENGON members, including Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, and the Land Research Center, are signatories to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official “affiliate” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- Numerous UAWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on UAWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared UAWC a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.”
- Ma’an Development Center
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. On May 15, 2018, Ma’an Development Center posted on Facebook a memorial notice for Aladini, referring to him as a “colleague and martyr.” (Ma’an has since removed the post.) Aladini was a “comrade” of the PFLP, a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. According to the PFLP, Aladini was active against the “Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip.” On his Facebook page, Aladini posted PFLP propaganda, including images that glorify violence and terrorists.
- Stop the Wall
- Stop the Wall “has been the main national grassroots body mobilizing and organizing the collective efforts against the Apartheid Wall.”
- Salah Khawaja, a “leader” with Stop the Wall was “an active member of the blacklisted Popular Front Liberation Party.” He was arrested by Israeli security forces seven times between 1983 and 1992 and served five years in prison between 1992 and 1997.
- Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem (ARIJ)
- Among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return,” which is inconsistent with two-state solution.
- In April 2019, ARIJ released a “Daily Report” that included the classic antisemitic attack on the Talmud in its rhetoric used against Israel. The report claimed that “over 250 settlers, stormed an archaeological site in Al-Jib village…and performed Talmudic rituals” and accused Jews of performing “Talmudic rituals in celebration of Jewish holidays” and performing “Talmudic rituals in the town.” In a February 2017 report, ARIJ claimed that the “Talmudic rituals” were in “blatant provocation to local residents.”
- Land Research Center
- Accuses Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “Judaization,” “violating the very basic rights of humanity,” and “vicious violations.”
- Signatory to the 2005 global call for BDS and to various other BDS initiatives, including a 2015 BDS seminar in Spain and a guidebook to BDS in French.
- Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
- PARC’s rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “war crimes.”
- According to PARC’s “2014-2018 Strategic Plan,” one of PARC’s strategic goals is “Holding the occupation accountable towards Palestinian rights related to the agricultural sector and rural areas” by “Boycotting…Israelis’ settlement products” and “Supporting the cooperation and coordination with the boycott committees.”
- PENGON is the Palestinian member of Friends of the Earth International.
- Member of the Emergency Water and Sanitation- Hygiene Group (EWASH), which is highly active in lobbying international audiences, including the European Union. Members of EWASH play a major role in promoting a distorted narrative on water rights and availability, ignoring the negotiated agreements (i.e. Oslo Accords) that determine the water arrangements, internal Palestinian dynamics, and other complexities – in order to falsely accuse Israel of violating international law on water rights. (See Bar Ilan University study for an analysis of these false claims.)
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