In age of forest fires, Israel’s law against Palestinian goats proves self-inflicted wound for Zionism

Israel/Palestine
on 69 Comments

A ban by Israel on herding black goats – on the pretext they cause environmental damage – is to be repealed after nearly seven decades of enforcement that has decimated the pastoral traditions of Palestinian communities.

The Israeli government appears to have finally conceded that, in an age of climate change, the threat of forest fires to Israeli communities is rapidly growing in the goats’ absence.

The goats traditionally cleared undergrowth, which has become a tinderbox as Israel experiences ever longer and hotter summer droughts. Exactly a year ago, Israel was hit by more than 1,500 fires that caused widespread damage.

The story of the lowly black goat, which has been almost eliminated from Israel, is not simply one of unintended consequences. It serves as a parable for the delusions and self-destructiveness of a Zionism bent on erasing Palestinians and creating a slice of Europe in the Middle East.

The 1950 Plant Protection Law, one of Israel’s earliest measures, was introduced as a way to outlaw the black goat, also known as the Syrian goat, from large areas of the country. The goats had been the lifeblood of Bedouin farming communities.

At the time officials declared that the goat was damaging vegetation, especially millions of pine saplings recently planted as forests.

The trees were fulfilling an important Zionist mission, in the eyes of Israel’s founding fathers. They were there to conceal the rubble of more than 530 Palestinian villages the new state had set about destroying and prevent the return of some 750,000 Palestinians who were expelled during the 1948 war that founded Israel – what Palestinians call the Nakba, Arabic for “Catastrophe”.

Close by the ruins of the villages, Israel established hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities like the kibbutz and moshav to farm the former lands of the Palestinian refugees.

Both the ban on goats and the mass planting of European pines were part of Zionism’s efforts to sell the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as “environmentalism” – a supposedly green agenda that is now being exposed as a sham.

Planting pine forests

Jews around the world were encouraged to drop pennies into charitable “blue boxes” as a donation to help the young state “redeem the land”.

In fact, the money was being mostly used to plant pine forests over the razed Palestinians villages, making it impossible for the refugees to return and rebuild their homes.

Additionally, the pine was useful because it was fast-growing and evergreen, shrouding in darkness all year evidence of the ethnic cleansing committed during Israel’s creation. And the forests played a psychological role, transforming the landscape in ways designed to make it look familiar to recent European immigrants and ease their homesickness.

Finally, the falling pine needles acidified the soil, leaving it all but impossible for indigenous trees to compete. These native species – including the olive, citrus, almond, walnut, pomegranate, cherry, carob and mulberry – were a vital component of the diet of Palestinian rural communities. Their replacement by the pine was intended to make it even harder for Palestinian refugees to re-establish their communities.

In charge of planting and maintaining these forests was the Jewish National Fund, an internationally recognised Zionist charity. Paradoxically, its website extols its work in Israel as “innovators in ecological development and pioneers in afforestation and fire prevention”. The JNF claims to have planted some 250 million trees across Israel.

In an indication of Israel’s success is selling these colonisation policies as environmentalism, the United Nations lists the JNF as having expertise in climate change, forestry, water management and human settlements. The UN also allows the organisation to sponsor panels and workshops at UN conferences around the world.

In September the JNF attended the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, where, it noted, it would be “presenting its activities in creating a greener world”.

Jewish farmer-warriors

The 1950 legislation, also known as the Goat Damage Law, continued Israel’s land colonisation policies – this time, not against the Palestinian refugees, but against the small number of Palestinian communities that had survived the Nakba.

By the end of the 1948 war, some 150,000 Palestinians were still clinging to their communities, chiefly in the north, in the Galilee, and in the south, in the semi-desert Negev, or Naqab. In 1952, under international pressure, these Palestinians were given citizenship.

Many of the surviving Palestinian communities knew little aside from an agriculture their ancestors had practised in the region for generations. But Zionism’s credo – that “Hebrew labor” would allow Jews to “make the desert bloom” and remake themselves as farmer-warrior “Sabras” – required that Palestinians be displaced from farming land.

Estimates are that some 70 percent of the land belonging to Palestinian communities in Israel was seized by the state – and is now held in trust for Jews around the world. Deprived of land and access to cheap water for agriculture, most Palestinian citizens were forced to become casual laborers, many of them working on building sites in the country’s center.

But one group was seen as a particular threat to the new Zionist ethos – and especially hard to turn into a captive labour force. The Bedouin were located in remote locations in the Galilee’s hills and the dusty plains of the Negev, and their pastoral way of life, herding goats and sheep, made it hard for Israel to control them.

‘Dunam after dunam’

The connection between the land and the goats – and the central role both played in maintaining Palestinian identity and reinforcing a tradition of “sumud”, or steadfastness – was identified early on by the Zionist movement.

One of its early slogans, referring to an Ottoman unit of land measurement, was “dunam after dunam, goat after goat”. The goal was to take Palestine piece by piece, so incrementally and quietly it would pass unnoticed in the rest of the world.

After the Nakba, Israel turned to aggressive containment policies against the Bedouin who had not been expelled outside the state’s new borders. These policies focused on both their lands and herds.

In 1965, the year before military rule over Palestinian citizens ended, a Planning and Building Law de-recognised almost all Bedouin communities. Their homes were declared illegal and they were denied all public services.

Israel’s goal was to pen the Bedouin up in a handful of urbanised “townships”, forcing them to abandon agriculture and become casual labourers in a Jewish economy, like other Palestinian citizens.

The 1950 Plant Protection Law struck an especially hard blow against the Bedouin. The black goats supplied them with milk for their own use and for sale, and the hides were used for tents and blankets.

As agriculture minister in the late 1970s, Ariel Sharon stepped up the campaign against the Bedouin – and similarly preferred to veil his policies as a bogus concern about ecology.

In his case, he had a private investment in the state’s success in “Judaising” the Negev and getting rid of most of the Bedouin: in 1972 he had acquired a vast ranch there, covering 4 sq km.

The land had formerly belonged to refugees from the destroyed Palestinian village of Houg, now imprisoned in Gaza. Palestinian physician and author Hatim Kanaaneh notes that the village’s only remaining structure, the mosque, was “serving as the pen for [Sharon’s] Arabian thoroughbred horses”.

The Green Patrol

Five years after be bought Sycamore ranch, Sharon created the “Green Patrol”, a paramilitary unit of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, whose tasks included seizing and slaughtering the Bedouin’s black goats.

Palestinian community activist Maha Qupty notes that in the first three years of the Green Patrol’s operations, the number of black goats was slashed by 60 percent, from 220,000 to 80,000. The patrol’s practices were so brutal that an official watchdog, the State Comptroller, censured the unit in his 1980 report.

The number of goats in Israel has fallen much further in recent years. A report in the Haaretz newspaper noted that by 2013 there were only 2,000 goats still grazing in and around the vast Carmel forest, next to Haifa, down from 15,000 before the Green Patrol’s establishment.

And it was in that same Carmel Ridge that the danger posed by the goats’ enforced disappearance first became apparent.

The extensive forest hugging the slopes of the Carmel Ridge was planted to enforce and conceal the expulsion of several Palestinian villages. But in 2010 the forest was engulfed in flames that ultimately claimed the lives of 44 people. The majority were warders travelling to Damun prison, where Palestinian political prisoners are held outside the occupied territories in violation of international law.

The fire, which raged for four days, required the evacuation of 17,000 people from their homes, including from sections of Haifa.

That blaze was a prelude to much more widespread fires a year ago, at the end of a long dry summer. Some 1,700 fires were reported across Israel and the West Bank, many of them in the forests Israel had planted over the destroyed villages. Haifa was again badly damaged.

Zionism’s self-inflicted wounds

In both the 2010 and 2016 forest fire outbreaks, Palestinian citizens were accused by police and government officials of being responsible, despite a dearth of evidence – and convictions – to back up such claims.

Allegations of arson were a useful deflection from the reality: that the fires were a Zionist own goal. The danger posed by planting unsuitable European pine forests in the arid conditions of the Middle East had been aggravated by longer summers, as climate change kicked in, and by the destruction of the black goats. They had cleared the vegetation around the trees that prevented the fires from quickly spreading.

In fact, there had been warnings that these pine forests were a fire hazard long before the advent of significant climate change. Nearly 20 years ago, I visited a kibbutz on the edge of the Carmel Ridge where there had been a recent fire.

Nir Etzion sits on the agricultural lands of Ayn Hawd, which was a rare example of a Palestinian village that had escaped destruction – in its case, to be reinvented as a Jewish artists’ colony under a similar name, Ein Hod.

The staff at Nir Etzion told me a familiar and paranoid tale: that internal Palestinian refugees, living close by, had started the fire to drive them from their kibbutz. The kibbutzniks overlooked the fact that the refugees themselves were put in much graver danger by the fire.

As I recounted in my contribution to a book of essays, Catastrophe Remembered, experts were clear even then that the European pine forests on the Carmel Ridge were dangerous in the region’s dry conditions.

‘Repair historic injustice’

But until this month, the dreams of the Zionist movement – of disappearing all traces of a Palestine that existed before Israel’s creation – had proved far more potent than the danger of forest fires.

Paradoxically, it has taken Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, to pry his colleagues from their delusions and face up to the reality of climate change.

Zahalka is the moving force behind the effort to repeal the 1950 law, justifying its revocation on a study by a good Zionist institution – the Technion, Israel’s renowned technical university. Its research has confirmed a wisdom that was obvious to generations of Palestinian farmers: that the goats graze on dry bushes and shrubs, and thereby suppress the risk of fires.

Zahalka has stated that the repeal of the 1950 law will “restore the goat’s lost honor” and “repair a historic injustice” for Palestinian farmers.

Zahalka has won backing from the agriculture minister, Uri Ariel, and Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister. Both are tightly linked to the settler movement, and Ariel is a director of the JNF.

But faced with the scientific evidence and the threat of more fires, Ariel has climbed down. “Goats are an important factor in fire prevention, and we want to encourage the act of grazing,” he now says.

Sadly, it has taken Israeli governments nearly 70 years to reverse their policy of destroying the black goat – a policy that intentionally sought to wreck Palestinian agriculture, and with it Palestinian communities, heritage and identity.

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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69 Responses

  1. JosephA
    December 1, 2017, 10:31 am

    Jonathan,

    Thank you very much for weaving the various facets of this tragedy together: food, animals, settlers, villagers, nomads.

    There’s a saying, that “time heals all wounds”. I don’t know if time can heal the criminal zionist enterprise, or its victims the indigenous Palestinians.

  2. Philip Weiss
    December 1, 2017, 1:32 pm

    Amazing story. Thanks Jonathan. Everything is of a piece here….

  3. pulaski
    December 1, 2017, 2:25 pm

    This sort of intersection of colonialism and ecology is fascinating. Israeli land use change definitely has influenced fuels tremendously relative to past heavy livestock use. And clearly there was a zionist and racist component to that policy. But I think talking about “unsuitable European pine forests” is very misleading. Certainly much of that forest is /Pinus halepensis/, a pine native to the whole Mediterranean region including Palestine and one with fire-dependent recruitment (closed serotinous cones that open in fire). So increasing that forest may very well be intended to hide evidence of villages and certainly produces a hazardous (for people and structures) landscape subject to crown fire but the forest but it is not “European” or unnatural. And depopulation of agricultural lands throughout Mediterranean basin have led to increased fuels and greater crown fire risk, not just in Palestine.

    Winter-rain and summer drought make Mediterranean type climates fire prone. And these regions have many native species well-adapted to crown fire.

  4. mcohen..
    December 1, 2017, 5:24 pm

    Such blatant ignorance.

    I remember clearly in africa goats turning land into deserts.

    http://grist.org/article/2011-06-21-growing-goat-herds-signal-global-grassland-decline/

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5321e/x5321e04.htm

    • Mooser
      December 1, 2017, 7:40 pm

      “I remember clearly in africa goats turning land into deserts.”

      As usual, you failed to understand the article you didn’t read.

      • mcohen..
        December 2, 2017, 4:18 am

        Mooser says…..i failed

        Yes i am a failure because i failed to understand.well my friend if you walked in the shoes of a shepherd you would know that goats eat the roots of small trees and bushes.they dig them up and eat them.
        We all wish for those were the days but they are gone and in its place we have a goats head soup by the rolling stones.
        And angie

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2017, 12:08 pm

        “that goats eat the roots of small trees and bushes.they dig them up and eat them”

        No, dummy, you’ve got it all wrong.
        Look, lambs eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy, too.

  5. Keith
    December 1, 2017, 5:49 pm

    JONATHAN COOK- “It serves as a parable for the delusions and self-destructiveness of a Zionism bent on erasing Palestinians and creating a slice of Europe in the Middle East.”

    Indeed, the destruction of the native flora and fauna says volumes about Zionist longing for the sacred soil of the Holy Land. The same for settling on the coast in Tel Aviv in preference to the inland backwater of pre-state Jerusalem.

    • Jackdaw
      December 3, 2017, 12:52 am

      @My Obsession is Consuming Me Altogether

      No. It was the Ottoman’s who destroyed the Holy Land’s landscapes when they destroyed all the old growth forests for timber in order to build their railways. The Ottoman’s and the local Arabs neglected the land by negligently chopping timber for firewood and not replanting. The British Mandate implemented a Forestation Program, which the Zionists continued. The Jews themselves, reclaimed marshes and have prevented desertification in the Northern Negev.

      But, the obsession continues.

      • Mooser
        December 3, 2017, 2:53 pm

        “No. It was the Ottoman’s who destroyed the Holy Land’s”

        Well, they had a lot of help from the Hassocks, (who were tired of being sat upon) and another fierce tribe called the Macassars. As a matter of fact there is an Anti-Macassar movement to this very day, centered on Davenport Iowa!
        But you know what they say “Jackdaw”- Sofa, so good.

      • Keith
        December 7, 2017, 5:50 pm

        JACKDAW- “No. It was the Ottoman’s who destroyed the Holy Land’s landscapes when they destroyed all the old growth forests for timber in order to build their railways.”

        Are you claiming that before the Ottomans, that Palestine was covered with old growth forests of pine trees? Christmas trees originated in Palestine? Olive trees are an invasive species? That the Jews of Palestine brought their pine trees to Europe where they made the steppes bloom? Jews are responsible for the Black Forest which reminded them of their Mediterranean homeland before the Ottomans screwed it up? Sir, you have raised self-parody to an art form!

  6. mcohen..
    December 2, 2017, 4:30 am

    A few extra verses

    In Gods kingdom

    did you share
    walk over hills
    a pilgrims prayer
    did you herd goats
    under shade trees
    with black coats
    did you get feathers
    fly across the sky
    watch burning embers
    did you get keys
    open closed doors
    sail stormy seas
    did you get peace
    by a stream
    a white doves release
    did you get freedom
    a path to walk
    in God’s kingdom

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2017, 12:11 pm

      “In Gods kingdom…”

      My goodness, mcohen, those words should impale every Palestinian like a flaming lance!

  7. Jackdaw
    December 2, 2017, 4:12 pm

    God awful. Here we go again.

    The Aleppo Pine is indigenous to Eretz Yisroel, and was first used by the British as part of the Mandate’s forestation program. Fast growing pine trees were needed to fix the soil so it wouldn’t erode. The State of Israel continued what the British had begun.
    If Arab herdsmen let their Syrian Goats devour pine saplings, then they should be stopped.

    Why doesn’t the Arab herdsmen dig into his pockets and buy feed for his Syrian goats instead of taking the lazy man’s approach and letting the goats roam and graze on valuable saplings ?

    Because the herdsmen doesn’t give a fig about the common good?

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2017, 5:59 pm

      “Jackdaw” you should really be offered an “Ask a Zionist” column at Mondo.

      Is there anything you don’t know about Israel?

      You “lived in the US for 55 years”. You made Aliyoops five years ago.

      You can barely find your way back to your own illegal outpost, but you know the ecology. So go tell the Israelis to ban goats again.

      • Jackdaw
        December 3, 2017, 1:28 am

        I know a good deal more about Israel than Jonathan Cook, who’s lived here longer than I have.

        Shouldn’t Jonathan Cook find his way back home? He’s an unnatural transplant too.

      • echinococcus
        December 3, 2017, 2:28 am

        Yabbut he is obviously an authentic 2,500-year-old revenant, as he repeatedly and emphatically claimed. One only has to see how unspoilt he has kept the deep Semitic accent of the goatherding old Hebrew nomads in their remote hills when he says “Eretz Yisroel”!

      • Mooser
        December 3, 2017, 2:58 pm

        “I know a good deal more about Israel than Jonathan Cook, who’s lived here longer than I have.”

        Of course you do, “Jackdaw” Of course you do. The knowledge is intrinsic in your DNA.

      • James North
        December 3, 2017, 3:22 pm

        Where’s “Grover?” I miss him.

      • Mooser
        December 3, 2017, 3:35 pm

        “Where’s “Grover?” I miss him.”

        “James North”, I’m a suggestible guy, please don’t encourage my worst instincts.

      • Jackdaw
        December 4, 2017, 12:44 am

        “Of course you do, “Jackdaw” Of course you do. The knowledge is intrinsic in your DNA.”

        Not in my DNA, but in my life experience.
        Jonathan lives among a small minority of Christian Arabs in Israel. I live among the majority Jews. How could I not know more about Israel than he does?

      • echinococcus
        December 4, 2017, 1:57 am

        How could I not know more about Israel than he does?

        First off, Cook is with the owners of the territory. Second, you aren’t even aware of being a willing participant in a major war crime, JackZz.

      • Jackdaw
        December 4, 2017, 2:27 pm

        @lower intestinal tapeworm

        “First off, Cook is with the owners of the territory.”

        First off, my family has been here for two hundred years.
        Secondly, Jews are the indigenous owners of the territory. The Arabs conquerers arrived later.

      • eljay
        December 4, 2017, 3:41 pm

        || Jackdaw: … Secondly, Jews are the indigenous owners of the territory. … ||

        Nope. The indigenous population of geographic Palestine prior to Partition would have consisted of Jews and non-Jews living in or up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine. Jews have never “owned” geographic Palestine.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2017, 4:33 pm

        “First off, my family has been here for two hundred years.”

        “I lived in the US for 55 years. I made Aliyah five years ago.
        I’m a Jew. I’m an American, and I’m proud.”
        “Jackdaw”

        I’m gonna go with the DNA. That’s what makes “Jackdaw” so smart.

        “Secondly, Jews are the indigenous owners”

        And they wrote their title in the sand, 2500 years ago. ROTFL: “Indigenous owners”.

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2017, 5:42 am

        @O.C.D. & ‘Daddy issues’

        My family arrived in Eretz Yisroel two hundred years ago. My great grandfather emigrated to the US in 1904.

        Unless you can find some Canaanites, Jews are this territory’s indigenous people. That is why the Romans called the region, Judea. The Arab conquest of the territory came in 690 A.D.

      • eljay
        December 5, 2017, 8:12 am

        || Jackdaw: … My family arrived in Eretz Yisroel two hundred years ago. … ||

        Right: Your family “arrived in” geographic Palestine because it was not indigenous to geographic Palestine.

        || … Unless you can find some Canaanites, Jews are this territory’s indigenous people. That is why the Romans called the region, Judea. … ||

        1. Thanks for clarifying that Canaanites, not Jews, were the territory’s indigenous people.
        2. Canaanites, Romans and Judeans* haven’t been around for centuries.
        3. Palestinians – the indigenous people of geographic Palestine – were around in the 20th century and they’re still around today.
        __________________
        (*People who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish are not ancient Judeans any more than people who study and speak Latin are ancient Romans.)

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2017, 12:13 pm

        “I lived in the US for 55 years. I made Aliyah five years ago.” “Jackdaw”

        One step ahead of a long arm, or in response to an advertisement?

      • MHughes976
        December 5, 2017, 3:53 pm

        If it is claimed that Jewish people of today are heirs to invaders who set the Canaanites, the oldest known inhabitants, by fire and sword on the road to destruction I would say that that claim, if true, establishes no rights at all. Unless, that is, you say it was and remains the will of God. But I would dispute that too.

      • Jackdaw
        December 6, 2017, 5:52 am

        @eljay

        Indigenous people, are those people connected to a certain region, when no other living peoples can claim to have preceded them there. No Canaanites are alive to claim precedence over the Jews.

        Native Americans are indigenous to North America because there are no other living people that can claim to have been in North America before Native Americans. European settlers to North America cannot claim to be indigenous so long as some Native Americans are still living. Native Americans, who move to Polynesia, are still indigenous Native Americans.

        Well. Aren’t they?

      • eljay
        December 6, 2017, 8:28 am

        || Jackdaw: @eljay

        Indigenous people, are those people connected to a certain region … ||

        Indigenous: originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native

        Indigenous people are those people living in or up to n-generations removed from a region. In (geographic) Palestine in the 20th century, that would have:
        – included non-Jewish and Jewish (geographic) Palestinians;
        – excluded ancient Judeans (who had not existed for centuries).

        || … Native Americans, who move to Polynesia, are still indigenous Native Americans. ||

        Native Americans who move to Polynesia can claim to be North American because they’re not more than n-generations removed from North America.

        A thousand years later, their descendants cannot claim to be North Americans because they aren’t – they’re Polynesians.

        The same applies to ancient Judeans (who have not existed for centuries): Their descendants cannot claim to be ancient Judeans because they’re not – they’re Russian or Polish or German or Canadian or Australian.

        (And a non-Jew who has undergone a religious conversion to Judaism is most definitely not transformed miraculously into an ancient Judean.)

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 12:46 pm

        “Indigenous people, are those people connected to a certain region”

        Yeah, yeah, the Ten Tribes, wandering the plains of Palestine, and bravely hunting irrelevants with an izmel.

      • MHughes976
        December 6, 2017, 2:39 pm

        If ‘indigenous people’ is defined as those ‘connected’ to a territory when, for any reason, there is no other surviving group who established a connection before them I would ask a) what qualifies as a connection b) whether a connection can be broken c) in what sense the relationship of group to territory changes in itself when both group and territory remain the same but a third party changes, for instance by dying out.
        The truth of ‘my home town is Xville’ doesn’t change with the fortunes of other people.
        So far, I’m just asking about how this definition works to describe people. But if the description is meant to entail rights I would ask a1) are all modes of connection, say by descent or by conquest, of equal significance? b1) are there any rights, or are there no rights at all, derived from being connected but not having the longest established connection? c1) can one really acquire rights by killing off people whose connection was of longer duration? As if the second heir to a fortune were to inherit the fortune rightfully by pushing the first heir off a cliff?

    • John O
      December 3, 2017, 10:33 am

      @Jackdaw “Fast growing pine trees were needed to fix the soil so it wouldn’t erode.”

      Any sort of tree or bush will do that. If your argument is correct (and, of course, it ignores the issue of planting trees over destroyed villages), the British, and then the Israeli authorities, did a rush job, and their poor stewardship of the land is now coming back to bite them. The soil may be uneroded but it is tinder dry. It’s similar to the problems they have in Portugal, where extensive planting of eucalyptus (another resin-rich, highly flammable tree, like the Aleppo pine) has also resulted in catastrophic forest fires.

      A good measure to alleviate this problem would be – more goats, to thin out the new saplings to safe and sustainable levels.

      • Jackdaw
        December 3, 2017, 12:04 pm

        @John0

        “Any sort of tree or bush will do that’

        Fast growing. Fast growing. Fast growing. Let’s try that again. Fast growing.

        The British with their vast colonial enterprise, knew a great deal about forestation.
        BTW. What’s the most commonly planted tree in the world? Answer is Pine.

        Despite Henny Penny’s dire forecast, Israel in not a tinderbox waiting to blow up.

        BTW, with the entire planet rapidly going to shit, Jonathan has gone out of his way to shame Israel for what she may have done 50 years ago.

        Ecce homo.

      • John O
        December 3, 2017, 1:00 pm

        @Jackdaw

        “Fast growing. Fast growing. Fast growing. Let’s try that again. Fast growing.”

        There are many fast-growing tree species. Their timber is often poor quality, limiting their usefulness and monetary value.

        “The British with their vast colonial enterprise, knew a great deal about forestation.”

        You’ve got to be kidding. Britain has far less forested land than other European countries. We have no special expertise; we’ve been slowly deforesting Britain since before the Romans came.

        “BTW. What’s the most commonly planted tree in the world? Answer is Pine.”

        A source for that claim would boost your argument. Nor does the fact – if it is a fact – mean that pine plantations are necessarily well thought out. From the Wikipedia entry on the Carmel fire of 2010, referred to in the article above: “Mount Carmel contains large areas of forests, including large numbers of Aleppo pine trees, which are more easily ignited.”

      • Jackdaw
        December 3, 2017, 5:00 pm

        ““Mount Carmel contains large areas of forests, including large numbers of Aleppo pine trees, which are more easily ignited.”

        So the Zionists are guilty of planting native species.

        The horror. The horror.

        Good night, John.

      • Mooser
        December 3, 2017, 6:42 pm

        “So the Zionists are guilty of planting native species.”

        Native species don’t need planting, they propagate naturally, and the ecology determines their range.

      • Jackdaw
        December 4, 2017, 12:51 am

        @Smokey the Moose

        “Native species don’t need planting, they propagate naturally, and the ecology determines their range.”

        In the past, entire forests of native trees were obliterated by man, and now, in the present, man shouldn’t try to regrow forests by replanting this native species?

      • John O
        December 4, 2017, 2:30 am

        @Jackdaw “So the Zionists are guilty of planting native species.”

        You have an unfailing ability to miss the point. It’s not the fact that the trees are native (to the whole of the Mediterranean) but that they are highly flammable.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        December 4, 2017, 6:09 am

        Fast growing = fast at erasing evidence of previous inhabitants. Pine trees are erasers. That or they have a secret obsession with the hanukkah bush.

      • Jackdaw
        December 4, 2017, 2:38 pm

        @John0

        “You have an unfailing ability to miss the point. It’s not the fact that the trees are native (to the whole of the Mediterranean) but that they are highly flammable”

        No. You are too dimwitted to grasp the situation in it’s entirety. If the pine trees don’t fix the soil, no tree, flammable or non-flammable, native or foreign, can grow .

        Now do you get it?

      • John O
        December 4, 2017, 3:52 pm

        @Jackdaw

        Since retiring from the day-job, I have done voluntary work on local nature reserves, including tree-felling, tree planting, hedge-laying, scrub-clearing, and stock-fencing. I have also recorded trees around the village where I live for a university project. My partner is an archaeologist by training, and she has recently done recording and research work for the Woodland Trust here in the UK, as well as being treasurer of the local branch of the Green Party. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I am very well informed on these matters.
        You, with every post you post, show that you know nothing about them.

      • echinococcus
        December 4, 2017, 4:51 pm

        JackZz

        You don’t have the right to plant trees, or even a blade of grass, in Palestine, or even to discuss it.
        Go back home.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        December 4, 2017, 5:08 pm

        John and Moose!

        I appreciate your patience in this matter..

        https://www.vastavalo.net/albums/userpics/12877/normal_Suomalainen_metsa_6560.jpg

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2017, 12:38 am

        @John0

        Your being an amateur arborist in the U.K. qualifies you as what in Israel? I don’t understand.

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2017, 7:23 am

        @John0

        Recommended reading on the subject of Forestry in Mandatory Palestine, is Roza El-Eini’s,
        ” Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine 1929-1948″, where, on page 222, the Mandate’s Commissioner of Forestry declared the Palestine Goat to be, ‘public enemy #1’.

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2017, 7:43 am

        @lower intestinal tapeworm

        “Go back home.”

        Israel is my home, and has been my family’s home for over 200 years.
        Tonight I’m going to celebrate another wedding in Yavne, where our rabbis kept court during the Roman occupation, and where Rabbinical Judaism was formed.

      • echinococcus
        December 5, 2017, 11:10 am

        JackZzz

        Your claim to be a Palestinian is highly questionable, considering the statistical impossibility of its use by a high ratio of the invader riffraff –but then, nothing is impossible. At any rate, it still applies to all the rest of you pirates.
        As for the old bones they’re still irrelevant.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2017, 11:52 am

        “where our rabbis kept court during the Roman occupation, and where Rabbinical Judaism was formed.”

        And I was going to accuse you of being backward-looking! Then it occurred to me- court Jews to a failing Empire. Maybe you are celebrating the present.

        “and where Rabbinical Judaism was formed.”

        Uh-oh! “Jackdaw” is at the very center of Jewish religious power.

      • John O
        December 5, 2017, 1:32 pm

        @Jackdaw “Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine 1929-1948”

        So the hated British were better at stewarding the land than the current Israeli government. Nice to know. If you still think the goats are the real problem, take it up with your local MK. Personally, I think the kids are all right.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2017, 2:03 pm

        “So the hated British were better at stewarding the land than the current Israeli government. Nice to know.”

        Thanks for that, “John O” (and a lot more) Saved me the trouble. As I am sure you are aware, there is a standard for measuring Zionism’s rhetorical alternations. That back-and-forth is measured in Herzls-per-sec.

      • John O
        December 5, 2017, 2:30 pm

        @Mooser

        Thanks. As so often, you made me LOL and spill my drink again.

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2017, 4:54 pm

        @John0

        According to al Eini, the British were fair stewards, neither good nor bad. The State of Israel correctly continued the progressive programs set in motion by the British, such as reforestation and programs to stop erosion and water loss.
        When the 1950’s ‘goat law’ went into effect, no one could have predicted global warming or the micro climatic changes wrought by the construction of the Aswan High Dam (less percipitation reaching Israel’s North).

        Israel’s only failure was in not repealing the goat law sooner. Notwithstanding Jonathan’s bullshit fantasies, the goat law had nothing to do with a culture war, or an economic war on Arab goat herders.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2017, 5:36 pm

        You’re welcome, “John O”.

        And the only thing anybody needs to know about the ecology of Palestine is this: “Without Torah, there is no life!”

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 12:54 pm

        “Tonight I’m going to celebrate another wedding in Yavne”

        Another mail-order middle-aged groom from the US, arriving one step ahead of an audit or alimony? L’Chaim!

      • Jackdaw
        December 6, 2017, 3:23 pm

        @Look kid. I’m not your Daddy.

        “Without Torah, there is no life!”

        Without your dollars, there is no Moldovan wife!

        BTW. My wife strong armed me into moving here. I pay my taxes and I have no creditors.
        For your information, in order to make Aliyah I had to get certified proofs from law enforcement that I’d never been arrested or convicted of a crime.

        The wedding was great. A beautiful young orthodox couple. Mazal tov!

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 3:49 pm

        “BTW. My wife strong armed me into moving here.”

        Where your family had been waiting patiently, for 200 years, for you to join them. You bet.

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 5:57 pm

        “Without your dollars, there is no Moldovan wife!” “Jackdaw”

        I guess that’s how it is. Your true Ashkenazism always look down on the Ostjuden.

      • Jackdaw
        December 7, 2017, 5:27 am

        @ Brides R’ Us

        *I guess that’s how it is. Your true Ashkenazism always look down on the Ostjuden.*

        I’m not looking down on Moldovans. I’ve knew a Moldovan gal, who was marvellous.
        I’m looking down on people who snidely lash out at others while failing to adequately address their own considerable faults and personality disorders.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2017, 4:18 pm

        “I’m looking down on people who snidely lash out at others while failing to adequately address their own considerable faults and personality disorders.”

        So let’s see, 55 yrs in the US, henpecked into Ally-oops and there you are in the Zion, desperately seeking to get back in touch with liberal, non-Zionist Jews, and tell them about their “considerable faults” and “personality disorders”. Ho-kay!

  8. MHughes976
    December 2, 2017, 5:23 pm

    On goat mythology and agriculture – and for a reprimand to British imperial agricultural policy – see Sarah E Harris ‘Cyprus as degraded lanscape’ – Proceedings of National Academy of Science, 2012. She refers to Virgil’s comparison of (presumably uncontrolled) goat grazing to ‘a fire in the fields’ as an illustration of age-old Western myth, but in the fact the poet makes a specific case for goats as high-yield animals sustaining poor families.

  9. Ronald Johnson
    December 2, 2017, 7:17 pm

    Among the Zionist projects was the draining of the Hula wetland, another disaster. The peat that comprised the soil caught fire and smoldered forever. With much fanfare, the Israelis are taking credit for the creation of a nature preserve as the swamp is being restored.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1993-10-24/news/mn-49175_1_hula-valley

    Israel brags about creating drip irrigation to create an agricultural resource. The Middle East and other arid territories present the ruins of ancient irrigation systems that all died from salinization. Drip irrigation is the speediest path to salting the land, unless the water is distilled like rainwater.

    For centuries the Palestinians practiced sustainable dry land farming, like the Navajos and the Zunis. All to be driven off their land by Europeans who have no respect for our sustaining Earth. Here is a reconstruction of Chief Seattle’s admonition of 1854, here now addressed to the Knesset:

    http://www.synaptic.bc.ca/ejournal/smith.htm#.WiM_TktrxsM

    • Jackdaw
      December 3, 2017, 1:25 am

      @Ronald Johnson

      Mass starvation in Palestine and Syria.

      http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9D06E4DE1338E633A25750C2A9629C946496D6CF

      Fine stewards, indeed.

      BTW, Ronald. Didn’t the Palestinian Arabs introduce the heavily water dependent citrus industry to Palestine?

      Ronald?

      • John O
        December 3, 2017, 4:12 pm

        @Jackdaw “Didn’t the Palestinian Arabs introduce the heavily water dependent citrus industry to Palestine?”

        And didn’t the Israelis immediately stop all production of heavily water-dependent fruit (including cherry tomatoes) as soon as they broke away from Palestine?

    • Maghlawatan
      December 7, 2017, 1:05 am

      Another story this article reminds me of is the Maccabiah bridge disaster. Zionism is a psychological fantasy that has contempt for the environment .
      The Yarkon river became a cesspit.
      In the 90s the Maccabiah games, very Zionist , took place in a site alongside  , involving Jews from all over the world .

      The organisers built a bridge to connect 2 participatinüg sites. The bridge was shoddy. A lot of Israeli infrastructure is  . Israelis don’t do accountability.  That goes back to the Palestinian issue .
      The bridge collapsed .

      4 Jews died .

       https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabiah_bridge_collapse

      The land is a fetish. Zionists don’t care about it  . Trauma can’t .
      And the carrying capacity of shangri la is a lot less than 7m Jews and 7 m Untermenschen.

  10. JLewisDickerson
    December 4, 2017, 6:56 am

    RE: “The story of the lowly black goat, which has been almost eliminated from Israel, is not simply one of unintended consequences. It serves as a parable for the delusions and self-destructiveness of a Zionism bent on erasing Palestinians . . .” ~ Jonathan Cook

    LET US NOT FORGET: Here is a rather (in)famous photo from the 1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer.

    ALSO SEE: ‘Kill Every Buffalo You Can! Every Buffalo Dead Is an Indian Gone’ | by J. Weston Phippen | theatlantic.com | May 13, 2016
    The American bison is the new U.S. national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.
    LINK – https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/05/the-buffalo-killers/482349/

  11. MHughes976
    December 4, 2017, 3:43 pm

    Maybe there is room for some common ground or woodland floor here. Jonathan’s quote from Uri Ariel and the whole article from which it comes makes a pretty reasonable case for the view that goats are not always the enemy. Meanwhile we have Jay Shofet, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, December 5 2016, explaining why pine trees are not always friends. In both cases there is some acknowledgement that Zionist ideology went rather too far. But from ‘our’ side we may acknowledge that here are Zionists learning from experience and modifying their ways.
    Vegetation becomes a metaphor for immigrant and indigenous people. Vegetation of different origins can be combined, of course, just like Israelites and non-Israelites combined in various ways in ancient times. Though it should be remembered that according to the Biblical record the Israelites were absolutely not on the indigenous side of the balance. They were violent immigrants with a special mission from God for the eventual good of all humanity.

    • Mooser
      December 4, 2017, 6:16 pm

      “They were violent immigrants with a special mission from God for the eventual good of all humanity.”

      Luke 2:10.

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