landscape view of Jerusalem, Israel via unsplash.

Jerusalem, Israel via unsplash

Israel/Palestine: Environmental Justice Issues

A trip to the region with Professor Irus Braverman, School of Law, Jan 1-6, 2017

Published March 16, 2017

On January 1, 2017, Professor Irus Braverman of the School of Law embarked on an intense six-day trip to Israel/Palestine with seven of her students. 

The students have been discussing environmental justice issues in the region during the 2016 fall semester, and the trip was the culmination of their studies, which focused on land and territory, planning and zoning, water issues, the Dead Sea, and the occupation.

Professor Braverman grew up in Jerusalem and served in the Israeli military. She studied law and worked as an environmental lawyer and community organizer before she headed to North America to conduct her doctoral studies in law.

The group first met in Jerusalem to discuss discriminations in zoning and the impacts of the Separation Barrier. Next, they continued to Auja near Jericho, where they visited with the director of the EcoPeace Center to consider water issues in the region, including a visit to the Dead Sea and the Baptism site on the Jordan river. The students then traveled to the Negev desert in the southern part of Israel and met with leaders from recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages to discuss controversies over land and natural resources. They visited a recent demolition site in one of the Bedouin villages (Um el Hirran) and witnessed firsthand the tragedy of the conflict over land in this region. During the visit, the students met with a range of nonprofit organizations such as Ir Amim, Emek Shaveh, MachsomWatch, Kerem Navot, EcoPeace, Haqal, Breaking the Silence, and Shatil. For their final event on Friday afternoon, January 6, the group met with Rabbi Arik Ascherman and attorney Quamar Mishirki. Sitting at the extravagant lounge of Jerusalem’s YMCA, the group ended with a message of hope at times of darkness. 

Upon their return, several of the students emailed Professor Braverman, stating that “this was the most valuable experience of [our] life.”

For more details on this trip please go to the students' blog.

For a student post about the Umm el Hiran demolitions please go here.

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Guest blogger Irus Braverman is Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Geography at the University at Buffalo, where she teaches Wildlife and Biodiversity Law, Law and Genetics, Israel/Palestine: Environmental Justice Issues, and topics related to law and animals.