Good water neighbors? A study of environmental peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine.

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Schierholz, Inga
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Water scarcity, pollution, and unequal distribution add complexity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In response, EcoPeace Middle East engages Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians in cross-border environmental cooperation while promoting dialogue and trust among members of all three societies. This study explores how EcoPeace fosters environmental peacebuilding between Israel and Palestine, looking specifically at what motivates Israelis and Palestinians to engage in cross-border cooperation, how their involvement in the organization affects their relationships, and the organization’s key challenges and strengths. The study relies on theories of water conflict and water cooperation, social cubism, and environmental and multi-track peacebuilding. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and critical auto-ethnography. The study found that by creating linkages between water and other sectors of society, the organization has been able to procure tangible results, and sustain limited dialogue and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, even in the context of physical, legal, political, and psychological barriers.
Peace and conflict studies, Israel-Palestine, Environmental peacebuilding, Civil society