Elsa Barron


In Palestine, environmental management has been used as a tool of military occupation and oppression. Yet even within that context, many community-based organizations have established programs relating to environmental peacebuilding. Of these initiatives, environmental dialogue programs have received significant attention and resources, even more so since the war in Gaza began in October, 2023. However, a deeper interrogation of these programs reveals the danger that dialogue and collaboration devoid of a critical analysis of power and injustice further perpetuates systemic oppression. Moving these programs into the realm of positive environmental peacebuilding requires a willingness to engage in this structural analysis. This article analyzes a series of eleven interviews with environmental researchers and advocates in Israel and Palestine representing seven different organizations or interest groups to assess existing approaches to environmental peacebuilding. Addressing the roots of violence and injustice is critical to creating peacebuilding programs that are durable long-term by building peace deeper than the surface. There are fruitful opportunities at the intersection of dialogue, collaboration, and empowerment that critically interrogate structural violence while building up sustainable development, justice, and peace at the local level.