SPNI Boycotts Ministry of Environment Gala Over New Settlement

Israel settlement SPNI

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) announced yesterday that they would boycott the 60th anniversary gala evening held by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The reason? The Ministry supports the building of a new settlement, Mirsham, in the Lachish region.

The SPNI and other environmentalists have strongly objected to the project, arguing that the Lachish region is one of the only remaining open spaces north of the Negev.

There’s a strongly political slant to the situation, because Mirsham is slated to become the home of 45 families who were evacuated from Gaza during the disengagement. (Consequently the Jerusalem Post has dubbed the settlement approval “Orange Triumphs Over Green,” because orange was the rallying color for those who were opposed to the disengagement.)

While the Union of Gush Katif Evacuees has offered to work together with environmentalists to minimize future environmental damage, the divisive nature of the whole affair is most likely irreparable, at least from this Prophet’s point of view.

:: Jerusalem Post

Green Prophet has featured the SPNI in several articles:
Israel to Start Drilling for Oil in a Nature Reserve
Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection to Clean Up the Kinneret
Urban Renewal Brings Jews and Arabs Together in Haifa

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4 thoughts on “SPNI Boycotts Ministry of Environment Gala Over New Settlement”

  1. Michael says:

    The Lachish affair reminds me of the tired ‘Zionist’ rhetoric reeled out by supporters of the self-styled Eden Hills ‘eco-community’ that I wrote about recently. Full of hot air and devoid of content: http://greenprophet.com/2008/06/02/566/forbidden-fruit-eden-hills/

    Time for a reminder of the government’s own ‘Israel 2020’ plan:

    “Its underlying planning principles include: concentrated and dense development, urban renewal, prevention of new settlements and increased density of existing ones, improved public transportation, and emphasis on green buffers, open spaces and the preservation of heritage and nature values.”

  2. Justin, thanks for giving us an inside perspective!

  3. Justin says:

    I was there at the Ministry of Interior- National Planning Council meeting as an SPNI representative.

    The meeting supposed to be an open meeting to the public – yet Shamai Assif, Director of the Planning Administration reeled off a name of officially listed people who were permitted to enter the deliberation room. Everyone else was barred from entering the room on the grounds there was no remaining seating. Democracy in Israel has officially reached a low point.

    Stranded outside, the Gaza evacuees and SPNI employees like myself began a heated but interesting debate – one trying to convince the other of their point of view. What emerged for me were two interesting observations:

    Gaza evacuees claimed their proposed community was a green community and that SPNI’s allegations are flawed. Yet – these people have neglected to investigate the idea of a green community, green living or even look at their own ecological footprint.

    One ‘enlightened’ torchbearer of the Zionist enterprise informed me that this was not a discussion about the environment but about ‘values – real Jewish values’ of establishing communities and farming the land.

    I don’t think these people really get it.

    If these people were real Zionists – which they are not (but thats a political debate for another blog) and cared so much about the Land of Israel – they would be promoting the preservation of Lachish as wilderness and not the location for a township.

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