Formed in 1998, the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON) is a member of Friends Of The Earth International. PENGON’s mission is to “coordinate” the efforts of various Palestinian non-governmental organizations, so as to more effectively “resist and highlight [Israeli] violations against [the] Palestinian Environment, and Israel’s control [of] Palestinian natural resources.”
In PENGON’s estimation, environmental problems in Palestinian territories are largely “due to violent Israeli occupation practices on the ground, including the confiscation of land, illegal settlement activities, the uprooting of trees, the destruction of Palestinian agricultural land, the use of Palestinian occupied lands by Israel as dumping ground for poisonous industrial waste, and the exhausting of water resources and the polluting of the … reservoirs by settlements.”
Routinely voicing its opposition to Israeli political, economic, and military policies, PENGON frequently accuses the Jewish state of “ethnic cleansing,” “colonization,” “land grabs,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.” For instance, PENGON portrays Israel’s anti-terrorism barrier in the West Bank as an “Apartheid Wall.”
In 2002, PENGON sought to advance the demonstrably false notion that Israeli soldiers had wantonly “massacred” hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank town of Jenin that April. Yet PENGON was silent regarding the fact that Israel’s military incursion into Jenin was a response to a massive wave of Palestinian terrorist activity that had been emanating from that locale in recent weeks. The “massacre” accusations, meanwhile, were debunked by Palestinian Authority records which placed the official death toll from the Jenin battle at 56, of whom 48 were armed combatants.
In July 2006, when Israel was engaged in a military conflict against Gaza-based Hamas terrorists who had been firing large numbers of deadly rockets into Israel, PENGON drew up a document titled “Stop Israel’s Siege and Attacks on Gaza.” This document accused Israel of using “bombs and starvation” to weaken Palestinian “opposition to the Israeli apartheid system,” and to create a set of “’final borders’ that ghettoize our people.”
In September 2013, PENGON published a report titled “Environmental Nakba,” which accused Israel of perpetrating all manner of “environmental injustices” such as illegally smuggling and dumping “highly toxic and nuclear waste in the occupied territories.” (Nakba is an Arabic term meaning “catastrophe,” and is often employed by anti-Semites when characterizing Israel’s founding as a sovereign state in 1948.)
In March 2014, PENGON collaborated with Friends Of The Earth-Palestine and the Palestinian Hydrology Group to publish “Water Injustice in Palestine,” a report alleging that Israeli control over water resources had transformed Palestinian villages into “large jails or ghettos.”
During “Operation Protective Edge,” a 2014 Israeli military campaign which was launched in response to a dramatic escalation in rocket fire by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists, PENGON portrayed Israel as “nothing but a criminal entity that commits daily crimes against humanity” and “daily massacres against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.” In the aftermath of that conflict, PENGON lamented that “51 days of Israeli attacks” had created a “grave humanitarian crisis” that included long-enduring pollution to the air, soil, and groundwater of Gaza. PENGON’s ongoing Combat Pollutants Campaign seeks to address those issues as well as other “Israeli practices against Palestinian environment.”
Another key PENGON initiative is its Climate Justice Campaign, founded on the premise that “the unequal distribution of climate-change impacts” tend to disproportionately affect “developing nations” that are already handicapped by “existing vulnerabilities.”
PENGON regularly promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which seeks to delegitimize Israel and cripple its economy. Some examples:
PENGON’s member organizations include the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, and 14 other NGOs. To view a list of all PENGON members, click here.
One particularly noteworthy PENGON member is the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), which Fatah has identified as an “affiliate” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Similarly, USAID asserts that UAWC is PFLP’s “agricultural arm,” and scholar Glenn E. Robinson reports that UAWC was founded by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
For additional information on PENGON, click here.