Israeli Settlers Chop down more Palestinian Olive Trees (having destroyed 800,000 since 1967)

Israeli settlers over the weekend used chain saws to destroy some 100 Palestinian olive trees in Qaryut village near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Construction of new homes by Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank has increased by 70% in 2013, encouraged by the far-right Likud government. There are now 515,000 Israeli squatters in the West Bank, not counting Palestinian territory annexed to the district of Jerusalem.

Israelis are estimated to have destroyed some 800,000 olive trees since Israel militarily occupied the Palestinian West Bank in 1967. Israel’s systematic contravention of the 1949 Geneva Convention and the 1907 Hague agreement on treatment of populations in occupied territories has long since rendered the occupation illegal (if not a crime against humanity), as well as leaving millions of Palestinians stateless and without the rights of citizenship. Their property is therefore not secure, since they have no state to back up their property rights, and their economic security is constantly threatened. It is forbidden to military occupiers to flood their own citizens into occupied territories, as result of abuses during World War II by the Axis powers.

There is a strong psychological impact to the vandalism against Palestinian olive trees, since these symbolize the attachment of Palestinians to their land. Palestinians are descended from the ancient Canaanites and Jews and have been farming that land for millennia.

Olive cultivation is worth $100 million a year to Palestinians, with poor villagers often being the main beneficiaries.

PressTV reported on a similar attack by Israeli settlers on Palestinian olive trees last winter at al-Qusra

7 Responses

  1. It would be nice to see reports like this. It’s shame I never do since the Israeli Lobby blocked Press TV’s Youtube account. Maybe it’s reports like this, accurate news on Palestine that got it blocked.

  2. This chopping down of Palestinians olive trees is “not helpful to the peace process.” Peace process? What peace process?

  3. The action is metaphorical on so many levels, one scarcely knows where to commence. The olive represents, of course, peace to the ancient Hebrews; it represented abundance to the ancient Greeks and Romans. When the Spartans invaded Athenian territory they made a B-line for the olive groves – they knew it was a way to deprive Athens of one of its only natural resources.

    Everything has changed, and yet nothing. Except that perhaps the olive will become a new symbol for modern apartheid.

  4. This situation was captured so well by the 2008 film ‘Lemon Tree’.

    I seem to remember there is an ancient Jewish teaching about doing until others as you would be done by. It’s a pity these settlers have never heard, or can overlook, that part of their religious heritage.

  5. The more egregious aspect of this type of conduct is that Israel Defense Forces commanders in the “Civil Administration” – the real political authority in the Occupied Territories have the power by virtue of law, upon “suspicion” that Palestinian realty is being or has been used for rebellious militant activity, may have any structure or anything growing thereon to be forfeited and demolished.

    This legal authority has been used by the IDF to use bulldozers to demolish orchards in areas where rockets have been fired as, theoretically, the rockets can use the orchards for cover to launch missiles.

    During the occupation of Gaza, the authority to demolish was the most potent form of intimidation for Palestinians. The Rafah Zoo was invaded by the IDF a all but a few animals were destroyed.

    During Operation Cast Lead, in an event investigated and confirmed by the Goldstone Commission report, 32,000 hens at a chicken farm were run over by bulldozers and the farm – which provided 10% of egg production of Gaza – was demolished. The wealthiest clan in Gaza – who made their fortune in post-1948 Gaza in concrete business – had nine of their ten homes dynamited by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead.

    The IDF is largely complicit in the ongoing targeting of various types of orchards run by Palestinians – be it apple, olive, or other product – either by conducting the destruction themselves or being unduly lax in apprehending settlers who engage in such activity. See http://www.kawther.info

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