Israeli, Palestinian environmental activists to unveil coop model

Prof. Alon Tal and Dr. Muhammad Said al-Hmaida put together a plan to deal with cross-boundary environmental issues.

israeli hills nature 88 (photo credit: )
israeli hills nature 88
(photo credit: )
Prof. Alon Tal and Dr. Muhammad Said al-Hmaida will unveil their joint model for handling environmental issues on the national level on Monday. Tal, of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Hmaida, of Bir Zeit University, spent several months putting together a comprehensive plan to deal on the government level with cross-boundary environmental issues. The plan addresses current and potential issues such as environmental impact statements, hazardous materials, air quality, nature preservation and solid waste. "For example, Palestinians and Israelis would both be directly involved in the physical planning of areas on both sides which are adjacent to the borders. Israel would have a say in the sewage treatment strategy in the Palestinian sector - which directly affects our water resources, just as the Palestinians would have access to monitoring of Israeli air pollution sources that are transboundary and impact their air quality," Tal, founder of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, said. The plan calls to establish a joint professional committee of Israeli and Palestinian environmental managers - joined by international representatives - that would be empowered to oversee many aspects of environmental issues in the region. Tal and Hmaida, former director-general of the PA Environment Ministry, worked with international experts to craft the plan, which was then reviewed by Palestinian and Israeli peer groups. The plan has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Ministry and the PA. It will be presented as part of BGU's 38th annual Board of Governors Meeting on Monday afternoon on the university's Sde Boker campus.