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Title: Eco-nationalism, eco-conflict and eco-peace : the political ecological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Author: Reynolds, Kyra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 1628
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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The ethno-nationalist conflict in Israel/Palestine has been the subject of significant academic interrogation. However, the political ecological dimensions of that conflict, despite their importance, have gone largely unnoticed. The natural environment, for example, is central to national identity constructs that have long been a source of contestation and friction in the region. The scarcity of vital natural resources (both land and water) needed to sustain nation-building efforts continue to occasion conflict. Access to and control of such resources is divisive and the environment has become a weapon through which to contest the ‘other’. Whilst there is a deep-rooted attachment and importance given to the environment, it has also been a victim to the conflict itself often being seconded to the ‘high political’ aspects prioritised at the governmental level At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also numerous efforts which attempt to use the environment to promote cooperation/peacebuilding between actors in the conflict. This thesis attempts to unpack the often-overlooked political ecological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To do so, it focuses on a number of specific, localized and illustrating case studies in a series of three papers. The first analyses the impact of the Israeli West Bank separation barrier on Palestinian agricultural systems and processes. The second paper, analyses local attempts at Israeli-Palestinian ‘environmental cooperation’ and asserts the need for delving deeper into ‘cooperative’ interactions in order to determine their true nature and effectiveness. The third paper takes the same greater Bethlehem case studies and explores their possible peacebuilding contributions, before suggesting ways to improve their potential in that regard. As well as filling a significant vacuum in Israel/Palestine scholarship, the thesis has broader theoretical and practical relevance. It adds greatly to vibrant contemporary academic discussions, debates, and lines of enquiry pertaining to the relationships between the environment, conflict and peace. It also speaks to recent calls for geographers to research and contribute to ‘a geography of peace’. In a desire to employ a holistic lens (in this case a political ecological one), an inductive approach was pursued to facilitate the emergence of new ideas. That is, instead of having rigid, predefined theories to test, the approach, whilst including key ideas related to the broad conceptual framework, was to remain open-minded to what emerged in discussions with those involved in the scenarios, and through the analysis of a multitude of information sources. Key methods of primary data collection included semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observation. Primary data collection occurred remotely via ‘e-interviews’ between 2012 and 2013, and directly during a period of fieldwork to Israel/Palestine in 2014. A total of 40 interviews were completed. Ethnographic observation included partaking in tours and conducting site visits. The data collected was complemented by the consultation of secondary statistical sources, and visualisation using Geographic Information Systems. Qualitative content analysis was key in complementing the primary data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available