The Norwegians, the settlers, the zealot, the olive seedlings– and the Palestinian’s suit against ‘Nobody’

We’ve been chronicling the rising fury inside Europe toward the Israeli occupation; and one story I’ve put aside that relates to this trend involves a visit by Norwegian volunteers to help Palestinian farmers plant olive trees.

Settlers destroyed their efforts. The farmers have vowed to press their rights. (And Kate covered the attacks in her daily digest here.)

I focus on this incident because of the extremism. The Norwegian volunteers are doing loving work; and they were met by a zealot who call them Nazis. And one of the Norwegians’ ancestors saved Jews during the Holocaust.

A Palestinian farmer seeks redress for his losses. He is forced into a hateful bureaucracy of occupation that is reminiscent of the airless desperation of a Kafka story. Will J Street describe these conditions at its conference, titled “Making History,” next week?

At the end of the accounts below, you will find excerpts of a piece by that zealot, Nadia Matar of Women in Green, explaining why Palestinians have no place in the West Bank.

First, here is the International Middle East Media Center’s report on the Norwegians’ work at the village of Beit Iskaria, near the Israeli settlement Eleazar, on March 7:

On Wednesday morning a group of 11 Norwegian students and their teacher joined Yassin Da’doua on his land to plant 200 olive trees as part of the olive tree planting campaign organized by Joint Advocacy Initiative of East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine.

The group along with the Palestinian farmer and his family managed to plant half of the trees on Wednesday before the leader of the radical settler organization ‘Women in Green’, Nadia Matar, arrived along with two other Israeli settlers who started taking photos of the young Norwegians.

“Your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land. This is the land for the people of Israel. You are helping the wrong people. You are like the Nazis.” Matar shouted at the Norwegian students.

After some time Israeli soldiers, military police, and uniform police arrived at the scene and demanded the Palestinians and their friends stop planting the trees and leave the area. The military commander said that the land is owned by the state of Israel…

“How can they call me a Nazi? My grandparents fought the Nazis during the second world war,” said one of the Norwegian students responding to Matar comments.

Video is here, I can’t get it to load.

Below is an interesting account of the encounter from Sensingtherabbithole, who I believe to be a European employee of the Joint Advocacy Initiative in East Jerusalem, which arranged the plantings. In the picture at left, you can see Nadia Matar pointing a finger.

The group had just started the planting of 200 olive trees when the leader of the radical settler organization ‘Women in Green’, Nadia Matar, arrived with two other Israeli settlers. Matar had an aggressive approach towards the international group and said loudly “your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land. This is the land for the people of Israel. You are helping the wrong people. You are like the Nazis.” At the same time, Israeli soldiers appeared, who counted a higher number of armed military compared with olive planting Norwegians. The military canceled the olive planting and ordered the group to stop their work and return to the bus which was escorted back to Bethlehem….

The group was invited to an Israeli settlement for a talk and a discussion with an Israeli settler. A Palestinian man, employed in our NGO joined the meeting in the Synagogue, but instead of screaming, he left the room due to the lack of common ground. …

The next morning, 100 planted olive trees were uprooted and the land was prohibited from the Palestinian farmer. The nephew of the land owner was arrested due to his act of planting olive trees despite the order from the soldiers to stop working. In the case of this spesific farmer, this could be the first step towards a long lasting process in court. While facing the judge, the legal question is not “who is the right based owner of this land?”. The land is presumed to be Israeli state land, and the mission of the Palestinian farmer is to once again prove that it belongs to him.

In the case of the Palestinian people – this is no more radical than a continuous process of transmitting land from Palestine to Israel, which has been going on since 1948. The difference between now and than is that today the land grab violates international law, and the Palestinian people has no means to fight back. At the same time, the world community has an opportunity to influence the govern of Israel. But the problem seems to be that the world, through UN, gave Israel the power to form a state, but without enough restrictions. Criticizing Israel later is too sensitive because of the horrible history of the Jewish people.

Now here is a detailed report from the Joint Advocacy Initiative on the second incident of olive tree destruction. It emphasizes the Kafakesque system faced by a Palestinian farmer whose lands have been invaded. He must go to a settlement to file his complaint. And the complaint is filed against Nobody. (Kafka was inspired in his tales, some have asserted, by the treatment of Jews in central Europe.)

The same group of Norwegian students also planted trees on private Palestinian land east of Bethlehem [on March 4].

The land is near two settlements one of which is Nokedim, home to Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

A group of Israeli settlers came into the land of Aziz Tinih’s family at 1:00 am on Sunday, 11th of March 2012. The settlers took their time destroying the land and uprooting nearly 190 newly planted olive trees. All the trees except of one were found cut and/or pulled out of the soil.

…In order to file a complaint about the destruction of his land, the Israeli Authorities sent Aziz to Etzion settlement then to Kriat Arba settlement then to the Nokdim settlement security. The Israelis told Aziz that the people who destroyed his land were not settlers but Palestinians, a claim was proved a lie because no Palestinians live in any of the settlements around the field and no Palestinian would find it safe to be there at the time of the attack (around 1 am).

Eventually the case was filed against nobody even though the Israeli authorities could easily find who attacked the land giving the fact that the area has camera surveillance covering all the settlements.

The land of Tinih family has been subject to various settler attacks, Settlers come out from the nearby El David and Nokdim Settlement and vandalize the property of the Palestinians land around the settlements, many land owners avoid going to their land fearing for their lives as several Palestinians were attacked by settlers from there including Aziz’ brother as well as many Palestinian shepherds who used to herd their flocks there.

The uprooting of the trees has made Aziz and his family more keen on returning to their land regardless of the existing threats. Through the Olive Tree Campaign Aziz and his family will continue to receive olive trees from the campaign until the settlers attacks stop.

“Some of Israeli settlers in this area think they are shepherds. They try to follow the life of prophet Amos, somebody needs to remind them that; as a shepherd, prophet Amos had a stick rather than a machine gun and he was a person who respected his neighbors rather than using every opportunity to destroy their property, terrorize them and drive them off their land…” [There is no attribution for this quote, apart from JAI itself]

Now here is part of the response to the Norwegians by Nadia Matar of Women in Green. Wow, this is intense, but they believe this stuff. These are the messianic mad people controlling the West Bank. Notice the talk about “the Arab”:

And now for the facts:

We, the Jewish People, are embroiled in an ongoing battle for reclamation of our land, our historic birthright, the Land of Israel.

The Jewish People are, and have been, the indigenous inhabitants of the Land of Israel for over 4000 years. We have been continuously present here, in greater or lesser numbers, despite enforced exile and dispossession by a series of foreign invaders and conquerors – with the Arabs and Moslems only the latest in a long line.

With the advent of the national liberation movement of Zionism, and with the help of G-d, the Jewish People have returned to our G-d given biblical Homeland, especially to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria,where the very first Jewish “settlers” lived thousands of years ago- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and later the Judges, Kings, Priests and Sages of our people. At a time when Europe was still a forested haven for primitive tribes, and Islam did not yet exist, Jews flourished in their homeland and developed the spiritual and ethical heritage that has transformed human civilization.

Today’s 750,000 Jewish residents living in Judea and Samaria should not be labeled “settlers”, which is a mistranslation of the Hebrew “mitnachalim”, but rather “heirs” or “inheritors” of the land. We have been here for over 4000 years and we are here to stay. In contrast, as Joan Peters points out throughout her lengthy and well-documented book “From Time Immemorial”, almost all the Arabs living in Israel or in Judea and Samaria, are not “native” to the land, but rather immigrants from Syria and Saudi Arabia attracted by the Zionist return and economic development of the Land of Israel….

The Arab claiming ownership of that piece of land is simply lying – his so-called documents are either non-existent or fabricated and forged. He is a dangerous and violent man, who was arrested a few months ago after he attacked a Jewish farmer with a hoe, and almost killed him.

The Arabs, and Moslems, of course, are fighting for far more than the possession of this or that piece of land – they aim for nothing less than the destruction of the State of Israel.

Great thanks to Ron Taylor.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists

{ 20 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “How can they call me a Nazi? My grandparents fought the Nazis during the second world war,” said one of the Norwegian students responding to Matar comments.

    MY COMMENT; That’s why I sometimes (only half-jokingly) refer to “The Dissociative State of Israel”!
    Dissociation (psychology) – link to en.wikipedia.org

    FROM A FILM REVIEW BY GILAD ATZMON, 1/15/10:

    (excepts) I urge every person on this planet to watch Yoav Shamir’s “Defamation”, a documentary about anti-Semitism. . .
    …He provides us with some intimate footage of Israeli youth being indoctrinated into collective anxiety and total neurosis just before they join the IDF.
    The general image we are left with is no less than grotesque. The film elaborates on the aggressive vulgar orchestrated amplification of fear amongst Israelis and Zionist Jews. “We are raised to believe that we are hated” says an Israeli high school girl on her way to a concentration camp…
    …Shamir provides us with an opportunity to see how badly young Israelis behave once in Poland. You watch their contempt to the local population and disrespect to Polish people and institutes. You can also watch Israelis project their hatred onto others. For some reason they are convinced that everyone out there is as merciless as they happen to be. The Israeli youngsters are saturated with fear, yet, they are having a good time, you can watch them having a party dancing in a bus all the way to a Auschwitz. . .

    ENTIRE FILM REVIEW – link to gilad.co.uk
    “Defamation” can be streamed from Netflix (91 minutes) – link to movies.netflix.com
    “Defamation” is also on YouTube (VIDEO 1:31:18) – link to youtube.com

    • Sand says:

      Yes, I too recommend watching ‘Defamation’ — a definite eye-opener. Thank you DICKERSON3870 .

    • Pixel says:

      Add me to list of recommenders!

    • Charon says:

      I watched Defamation based on your suggestions. That part with the Israeli teens visiting Poland shows some of the ways they brainwash these kids at such a young age. An IDF guy doesn’t let them leave their hotel and tells him they aren’t safe and people hate Jews. There is a part where two older Polish guys are trying to harmlessly converse with a couple girls until one of the leaders takes them away and says they were saying bad things about Jews. Projecting their hatred on others is an excellent way to put it.

      They’re creating soldiers. Literally. Brainwashed into a nation of sociopaths. Those perceptions are impossible to change.

  2. RE: “Some of Israeli settlers in this area think they are shepherds. They try to follow the life of prophet Amos…” ~ Joint Advocacy Initiative
    AND RE: “…almost all the Arabs living in Israel or in Judea and Samaria, are not ‘native’ to the land, but rather immigrants from Syria and Saudi Arabia attracted by the Zionist return and economic development of the Land of Israel…” ~ Nadia Matar of ‘Women in Green’

    MY COMMENT: That’s why I sometimes (only half-jokingly) refer to “The Dissociative State of Israel” ! ! !

    FROM WIKIPEDIA:

    (excerpt) Dissociation is an altered state of consciousness characterized by partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s normal conscious or psychological functioning.[1] Dissociation is most commonly experienced as a subjective perception of one’s consciousness being detached from one’s emotions, body and/or immediate surroundings.[2] Van der Kolk et al.[3] describe dissociation as a “compartmentalization of experience.” Under normal conditions, consciousness, memory, emotions, sensory awareness, affect, etc., are integrated; with dissociation, in contrast, these traits are discretely compartmentalized to greater or lesser degrees.
    Dissociation describes a wide array of experiences that can affect any aspect of a person’s mental functioning.[4][5][6][7] Although some dissociative disruptions involve amnesia, other dissociative events do not.[8] At one end of a continuum, dissociation describes such common events as becoming lost in thought while driving a vehicle and not recalling parts of the journey. At the other end of the continuum are a cluster of dissociative disorders, such as dissociative amnesia, that can occur in response to severe psychological trauma such as rape or military combat. In such cases of abuse or trauma*, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism to help with an overwhelming experience.[9]…

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    * FOR EXAMPLE: “Your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land… You are like the Nazis.” Matar shouted at the Norwegian students.

    • P.S. SPEAKING OF “DISSOCIATIVE STATES”: Black Swan, 2010, R, 108 minutes
      In director Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller, ambitious New York City ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) lands the lead in “Swan Lake” but soon thinks her dreams of stardom are threatened by a rival ballerina (Mila Kunis). As opening night nears and the pressure to be perfect builds, Nina’s obsession descends into paranoia and delusion. Portman won an Academy Award for the film, which also nabbed an Oscar nod for Best Picture.
      Netflix Availability: DVD and Blu-ray
      NETFLIX LISTING – link to movies.netflix.com
      BLACK SWAN, Official HD trailer (VIDEO, 02:09) – link to youtube.com

  3. They are squatters, not settlers.

  4. eljay says:

    >> “Your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land. This is the land for the people of Israel. You are helping the wrong people. You are like the Nazis.”

    Occupation forces of the Jewish state destroy homes while colonists from the Jewish state destroy olive trees. Very efficient.

  5. Interesting that she quotes Joan Peters.

    Exposing the fraud that is “From Time Immemorial” lost Norman Finklestien what would have been a promising career in academia. Embarrassing the likes of Barbara Tuchman, who along with many other Jewish luminaries endorsed the book’s evidence and argument was considered unforgivable by the American Jewish community.

    One of the softer defences of the book is that it’s considered a bit of a joke, especially within Israel itself. And yet here it is, used to support and encourage the armed robbery of land and livelihoods.

  6. pjdude says:

    anyone else see the irony of a jew living on stolen land crying thsat someone is trying to steal it from them?

  7. What uniquely unpleasant, fascist, narrow-minded hateful bigots these Israelis are. How disgusting to accuse Norwegian students of being ‘nazis’ when they are clearly helping someone plant their land. If anyone is being ‘nazi’ in this situation it is obvious who it is. How these fanatics can get away with their violent puritanism is disgracefully only possible with the collusion of the Israeli state and its vigilante terror doctrine practiced by the laughably called IDF. May they rot in hell.

  8. Kate says:

    Hard to see how Palestinians could put up with one state. Who could stand to live with these creatures?

  9. RoHa says:

    ““Your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust ”

    That was the Norwegians, was it? And I always thought that Norway was on the other side. Shows what I know about history.

    “Jews flourished in their homeland and developed the spiritual and ethical heritage that has transformed human civilization.”

    I never noticed that, either.

  10. Dagon says:

    Many days it seems to me that Israels total existance is to make the palestinians life as miserable as can be.I lived there for 26 years,and I visit often.It is lying,coniving,twisting,tricking,theiving,spinning,no straigth answer,killing,fabricating,obfuscating,sheistering(?),and freiring.And thats in “israel”.the length of audacity they go to steal the land is un imaginable.Kafkayisq?can’t even come close.To confiscate the land they use ottoman,brittish and newly minted laws .If they want your land,the’ll put a millitary sign not to enter.Later they declare the area as a millitary exercise zone,and for your security please stay out.Then they put up a fence and declare it closed security zone.You fight it for years ,you cant plant or harvest.Three years later a law kicks in.If you leave your land fallow you can loose it.Many books were written about the millions of dunams that were “legally” stolen.I have freinds who their father lost thousand of dunams of land.He lived in israel all his life,was never given citizenship,because he was “absent present”.See,during the 1948 war he visited lebanon breifly,and had to sneak back home to the new israel.He tried to get his land.No,you do not exist.According to our new fancy law,you left the country during certain dates that we find conveniant.So you are here but really not here,he was told.

    • RoHa says:

      “Many days it seems to me that Israels total existance is to make the palestinians life as miserable as can be.”

      Heavens, no. That is probably their main concentration, but they do what they can to make other people miserable as well.

  11. eljay says:

    >> He tried to get his land.No,you do not exist.According to our new fancy law,you left the country during certain dates that we find conveniant.So you are here but really not here,he was told.

    I hear that the religious aspect of Jewish state’s repatriation law makes it especially inclusive. Perhaps your friends’ father should have undergone a religious conversion – then he might have existed.

  12. kalithea says:

    “Will J Street describe these conditions at its conference, titled “Making History,” next week?”

    - NO, I doubt it; not like YOU can and should.

    Palestinians can not have solar panels because Israelis need Palestinians to continue living in the stone age on their land, denied of basic necessities because Israelis delusionally believe that with time, Palestinians would give up their land to live in a shack in a refugee camp just so they can have an electric light bulb and a tv. Palestinians need so little to connect with their land and this is the greatest threat of all to Israelis whose neediness knows no bounds and who cringe when they’re confronted with a Palestinian who’s happy with anything so long as he can remain on his land.

    Who deserves the land more: the man who will endure his basic needs and rights denied for DECADES and risk his life to remain on that land; or the man who must exercise control, deny others their rights, arm himself to the gills, oppress and kill, and steal more and more land and resources, and ravage the land of another to satiate his own neediness and insecurity?

  13. pabelmont says:

    FOI don’t want it small, they want it all.

    FOI always wanted two things: [1] a predominantly Jewish Israel and [2] a big, big chunk of Palestine (if not more — some of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan).

    No-one in BDS movement (I suspect) would object to a small Israel — occupying (let us say) 10% of Mandatory Palestine — being and remaining predominantly Jewish — because such a small state — while being quite large enough to house all of Israel’s Jews, and being much larger than NYC for example — would not be a target of return to more than about 10% of all the Palestinian refugees/exiles from 1948, and that 10% might well prefer to “return” to the non-Jewish 90% when a right of return was at long, long last achieved for them.

    But FOI don’t want it small, they want it all.

    Israel’s mission, thus and clearly, is not merely to create a Jewish State (whether or not democratic!), but to seize the entire Palestine and dispossess the entire Palestinian people. For that dispossession is a necessary concomitant of taking all the land. The honest (and somewhat frightening) Israeli Jews admit this:

    We, the Jewish People, are embroiled in an ongoing battle for reclamation of our land, our historic birthright, the Land of Israel.

    The Jewish People are, and have been, the indigenous inhabitants of the Land of Israel for over 4000 years. We have been continuously present here, in greater or lesser numbers, despite enforced exile and dispossession by a series of foreign invaders and conquerors – with the Arabs and Moslems only the latest in a long line.

    ; the dishonest and far more frightening ones deny it — while supporting the zealot settlers.