SWAMPY AREA FORMERLY KNOWN AS GAZA – According to a recent statement released by the prime minister’s office, the Israeli government is planning to undertake a massive wildlife restoration project aimed at expanding the wetlands in the eastern, western, and especially southwestern portions of the Jewish state. Showing a commitment to wildlife normally not displayed by developed nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli state would even be willing to remove existing human settlements to make room for wildlife reserves.
“As it turns out, much of the Gaza Strip is sitting on what used to be a Gaza-Strip-sized wetland,” Netanyahu said. “In order to reverse the unsettling trend of human expansion at the expense of native species, we believe it is only right that we curtail this sprawling human settlement and repatriate its inhabitants elsewhere.
“I mean, we’re doing it for the animals,” he added.
Although critics have questioned the fact that all of the government’s proposed wildlife parks fall solely within Palestinian-occupied lands, Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that this move is not at all related to its geopolitical aspirations. According to government spokesperson Eliav Cohen, bird species native to the country, including the common crane and its rarer counterpart, the less-common crane, prefer to roost in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
The World Wildlife Foundation, meanwhile, released a statement expressing its gratitude toward the Israeli government for taking the initiative needed to protect indigenous species, but also noted that “reconciling the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth is supposed to be interpreted in a broader sense that does not necessarily involve the destruction of a nation and forcible removal of its citizens.”
Originally published: March 2013