Environmental expert and Director General of the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem, which is dedicated to “promoting applied research, technology transfer, sustainable development, and self reliance of the Palestinian people through greater control over their natural resources.”
Jad Isaac was born in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Sahour and has lived there his entire life. After attending Cairo University, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and joined the faculty of Bethlehem University, where he served as Dean of the Science Faculty. Isaac has long resisted—nonviolently—Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
In 1988, during the first intifada, he undertook a project to help Palestinians resist closures and economic sanctions by supplying thousands of besieged Palestinians with seeds, trees, fertilizer, tubing for water irrigation, chickens, and chicken coops that enabled them to be more self-sustaining and maintain their dignity as free human beings. For these grassroots, nonviolent efforts that served almost 100,000 people, Isaac was arrested and jailed by Israel for six months in 1989.
"The Intifada is like a gene," Isaac was quoted as saying in the book To Rule Jerusalem by Richard D Hecht and Roger Friedland (p. 329). "It is more than rock-throwing, more than not paying taxes, more than solidarity. It’s going back to the land. All our life is humiliation. Only the land will bring us back to self-respect."
After his release, Isaac founded and has served as Director General of the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ) in 1990. This important organization is dedicated to "promoting applied research, technology transfer, sustainable development, and self-reliance of the Palestinian people through greater control over their natural resources."
As author of A Geopolitical Atlas of Palestine and the Palestine Water Crisis, Isaac now monitors and assesses the "magnitude of environmental degradation caused by politically induced changes to Palestinian land and natural resources."
In bringing these changes to the world’s attention through lectures, satellite photos and power point demonstrations, he has attempted to slow down the Israeli annexation of the West Bank through its land confiscation, settlement activity, and Separation Wall.
His reputation for environmental expertise has made him a valuable advisor to various Palestinian negotiating teams, especially during the negotiations that took place in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001 regarding the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
To learn more about the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ), please see www.arij.org.