Israeli activist: ‘Ecology can bring peace’


The former deputy mayor of Jerusalem has said that Israelis and Palestinians can achieve peace by working together on environmental issues.

Naomi Tsur campaigned on green issues throughout her five-year term, and resigned in 2013 over what she saw as mayor Nir Barkat’s decision to downgrade environmental policies.

Speaking at an event hosted by Israel advocacy groups Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre and Stand With Us, Mrs Tsur said that taking care of the environment in Israel could not wait until peace is achieved and, in any case, will foster better relations.

She said: “You need environmental peace even if you can’t have geopolitical peace. We have to give greater emphasis to prosperity for Jerusalem and all the populations around, which means we have to respect the impact of whatever is done in the city. That would lessen the tensions and make it easier to enter into a dialogue for peace.”

Mrs Tsur, who now heads conservation and sustainability group Green Pilgrim Jerusalem, said that the divisions between Arab and Jewish Jerusalemites were artificial, and that other, unifiying forces in the city were potentially more powerful.

“The city is one as far as its urban reality is concerned. Lines are irrelevant, for all residents. Even after any agreement, people will need to cross over. If they can’t go to work or the zoo on the other side, we’ll be in real trouble.”

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