Greenwashing in Palestine/Israel: Settler colonialism and environmental injustice in the age of climate catastrophe

Sara Salazar Hughes, Stepha Velednitsky, Amelia A Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Israeli innovations in “green” technology are ostensibly aimed at sustainable resource management
and climate change mitigation. But sustainable development and environmental (in)justice in
Palestine/Israel need to be examined through interdisciplinary perspectives that account for the
broader settler colonial and neoliberal contexts in which they occur. Taking into account the historical
and geographic context of Israel’s scientific development, we argue that Israel’s green technologies
are fundamentally structured by the Zionist project of appropriating Palestinian lands.
Within settler colonial analysis, environmental injustice comprises part of a broader pattern of settler
domination of Indigenous ecological relations, requiring attending not to ‘equity’ in relations
with the state and environment but a reckoning with settler privilege and the return of land to
Indigenous communities. We analyze the use of environmental infrastructures—specifically in
the areas of waste management, renewable energy, and agricultural technologies (“agritech”)—
as mechanisms for land appropriation and dispossession in Palestine/Israel. Our analysis of ‘greenwashing’
as a rhetorical strategy asserts that regardless of the ecological impact of individual technologies,
in Israel’s settler colonial context they further indigenous dispossession and elimination
and are therefore incommensurable with long-term socio-ecological resilience. Through this analysis
of Israeli greenwashing, we discuss Israeli sustainability initiatives and technological innovations
not as ahistorical discourses, commodities, or technologies, but as elements of a
historically situated settler colonial project.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
StatePublished - 2022


  • Settler colonialism
  • Palestine/Israel
  • environmental justice
  • green technology
  • Indigenous studies


  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Nature and Society Relations
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies

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