Clean energy, dirty dealing: Syrian Druze resist occupation greenwashing


An Israeli wind farm slated for construction on Syrian Druze agricultural land in the occupied Golan Heights has been met with profound resistance from residents

Syrian Druze protest against Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, 30 March 30 2019

Ellie Stern reports in +972:

On Thursday last week [30 January] , the Israeli government approved plans for a commercial wind farm that would see at least 25 turbines built in the occupied Golan Heights. The decision came less than a week after thousands of Golan Heights residents protested the project in Majdal Shams.

In response, a popular committee representing Majdal Shams, Mas’ade, Ein Qinyye, and Buq’ata — the four Syrian-Druze communities in the Golan Heights — announced it would exhaust “all available means” to resist the project, beginning with a general strike on Sunday.

The protest is not against green energy, which residents told +972 Magazine they fully support. Rather, the objections are arising in the context of a long history of division between Israeli policies in the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, and an enduring local resistance to “Israelization.”

Energix, the Israeli green energy firm developing the project, welcomed the government’s approval and said it is working on fulfilling final requirements for construction of the wind farm outside Majdal Shams.  Energix’s website describes its facilities as “established in cooperation with the local communities and empowering minorities,” mentioning the “Druze community” in the “north of the country.”

The website does not detail how Energix, through its subsidiary Clean Wind Energy Project, signed lease agreements with roughly 40 individual landowners who agreed to host the turbines in exchange for several thousand shekels each month. The company had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Residents who did not sign contracts — almost everyone — raised concerns that 200 meter-high turbines planted amongst the apple, cherry, and almond orchards would affect anyone with land in proximity.

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