The director of the Arab Union for the Protection of Nature, Mariam Al-Geagea, withdraws from a training course called by the European Union in the Italian city of Bari, due to the presence of a delegation representing the Israeli occupation, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen news agency reported.
The Lebanon-based pan-Arab news network said that,
“The director of the Arab Union for the Protection of Nature, Mariam al-Geagea, withdrew from a meeting entitled ‘Regional training and study tour at the optimal level of irrigation management’ called by the European Union in the Italian city of Bari, due to the presence of a delegation representing the Israeli occupation.”
No to Normalization
One of the organizers, representing a network of Arab civil society organizations, nominated al-Geagea to attend a training on water and irrigation dedicated to the Arab region, only to be surprised by the presence of a delegation representing the state of Israel.
After consulting with members of the ‘Arab Union for the Protection of Nature and the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty’, which includes 30 entities from 13 Arab countries, al-Geagea filed a public objection before withdrawing, stating that the EU contradicts itself by inviting Israelis to these sessions.
Al-Geagea indicated that she represents an organization dedicated to defending the environmental and agricultural sectors in Palestine and Jordan from “the criminal practices of the (Israeli) occupation,” and rejects the use of the environment in such frameworks “to normalize relations with the occupation.”
نظم مشروع WES دورة تدريبية إقليمية وجولة دراسية تركز على الإدارة والممارسات المثلى للري ، لمدة خمسة أيام ، من 12 إلى 16 يونيو 2023 ، في مدينة باري ، إيطاليا.https://t.co/LcE1UfhOEv pic.twitter.com/K1P5D3fc6r
— WES-MED (@WesMed19) June 20, 2023
Political, Not ‘Technical’
Al-Geagea also addressed the organizers, saying that “if they want to stop the conflict in a sustainable and just way, they must address its root causes such as occupation, theft of resources and violation of human rights.”
She called on the organizers to adhere to international law, which is supposed to be an acceptable frame of reference to the organization.
Al-Geagea also rejected the claim made by some participants that “training is technical,” not political.
The “Water and Environment Support” project has been sponsored by the EU since 2019 and has an estimated budget of €7.9 million (approximately $8.6 million).
(The Palestine Chronicle, Al Mayadeen)