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Israeli forces uproot 15 ancient olive trees so as to confiscate more Christian-owned land near Bethlehem

Israel/Palestine
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Mazin Qumsiyeh, scientist and activist, writes:

Yesterday morning [August 17] the army of the colonial new “Jewish state” of Israel, 68 years of mayhem in the building, destroyed 15 ancient olive trees dating back 2-3000 years old in Beit Jala. The reason? Israel is going to close off the most fertile valley of Beit Jala western Bethlehem (Wadi Abu Ahmed, Cremisan area). Closing it off from its owners (55 Christian families of Beit Jala) is a step in confiscating it as happened before in thousands of locations. The world community and the Palestinian authority ignore the continuing massacre of land and people while occasionally making meaningless “statements”. In practice though, the Western governments support Israel and have close working ties with it (thus are co-conspirators in the crime in the legal sense). But I do want to focus on the Palestinian authority (PA) and will argue that it is the biggest enabler of the occupation today.

Mazin Qumsiyeh photograph of ancient olive tree destruction near Bethlehem August 17, 2015

Mazin Qumsiyeh photograph of ancient olive tree destruction near Bethlehem August 17, 2015

Some of the land here is owned by a Christian monastery that has been there for centuries. It would appear that some of the trees are being prepared for replanting. As Jeff Halper has noted, olive trees that have been in Palestinian families for hundreds of years, providing sustenance, have been confiscated by settlements. This olive oil site says that ancient olive trees are typically hundreds of years old, not thousands; though a tree in Walaja very near Beit Jala is 4,000 years old. (Kate mentioned the olive tree destruction in her summary today).

And here is a snippet of Qumsiyeh’s critique of the Palestinian Authority:

The most damaging is the consolidation of a system of mental occupation among both the elites and large segments of the Palestinian population. This mental occupation is characterized by:
a) Implicitly or explicitly accepting that Apartheid Israel is powerful and here to stay (basically accepting the sub-humanization)
b) Implicitly or explicitly accepting that Apartheid Israel will alwqays be supported by western governments especially the US
c) Believing that the only options for having a semi-comfortable life is either to work for the PA or for NGOs (we will deal with NGOs in a separate article). This illusion of manageable life under occupation without a struggle for freedom is mental occupation.
d) The “why rock the boat” attitude combined with lack of belief in others (PA officials always tell me the Palestinian people are hopeless and tribalistic and weak etc).
e) the widespread mistrust of all who claim they resist (but the examples of martyrs and prisoners on hunger strike remain a challenge to this skepticism).
Thanks to Terry Weber.
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8 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    August 19, 2015, 1:22 pm

    “Yesterday morning [August 17] the army of the colonial new “Jewish state” of Israel, 68 years of mayhem in the building, destroyed 15 ancient olive trees dating back 2-3000 years old in Beit Jala – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/confiscate-christian-bethlehem#sthash.DhdmAHd9.dpuf

    Israel is getting more and more like ISIS .

    “CNN)ISIS continues to bulldoze its way through the cultural heritage of Iraq and Syria, releasing a new propaganda video showing its fighters destroying Iraq’s ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in March.

    Nimrud lies close to ISIS’ main stronghold in Iraq, the northern city of Mosul.

    The video, which ISIS posted Saturday, shows militants attacking the more than 3,000-year-old archaeological site with sledgehammers and power tools before finally using explosives to blow it up.

    The United Nations has previously described such deliberate cultural destruction as a “war crime,” but in the Nimrud footage the ISIS militants appear proud of their actions.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/09/world/iraq-isis-heritage/

  2. just
    just
    August 19, 2015, 1:48 pm

    I appreciate this piece~ especially this:

    “The world community and the Palestinian authority ignore the continuing massacre of land and people while occasionally making meaningless “statements”. In practice though, the Western governments support Israel and have close working ties with it (thus are co-conspirators in the crime in the legal sense). But I do want to focus on the Palestinian authority (PA) and will argue that it is the biggest enabler of the occupation today. ”

    It’s been going on forever, it seems. Here are only two examples from 2013:

    “12th July 2013
    Settlers from illegal colony of Itamar destroy 1,500 Palestinian olive trees”
    http://palsolidarity.org/2013/07/settlers-from-illegal-colony-of-itamar-destroy-1500-palestinian-olive-trees/

    “Israel destroys over 1,000 olive trees in Hebron village
    APRIL 23, 2013”
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=588500

    It’s beyond any reason or rationale that everyone is standing idly by, averting their collective gaze, and is completely complicit in these horrendous crimes!

    Btw, I thought it was against some kind of Jewish ‘law’ to destroy fruit trees. It’s miserably ironic that it keeps happening to these olive trees that have olive branches upon them, isn’t it? An olive branch is symbolic of peace.

    “The term “to extend an olive branch” means to make an offer of peace or reconciliation. This term has Biblical origins, coming from the section of the Old Testament that deals with the flood; the sign that the flood is over is an olive branch brought back to the ark by a dove. Olive branches were also symbols of peace in Ancient Greece and Rome, and they continue to be used in various works of art that are meant to suggest peace, from murals to patches.

    Some people have suggested that the olive was a very deliberate and well-considered choice as a metaphor for peace, because olive trees famously take years to mature. War is typically very hard on the trees because people cannot take the time to nurture them and plant new ones. Therefore, the offer of an olive branch would suggest that someone is tired of war, whether it be an actual war or a falling out between friends.

    In Ancient Greek and Roman times, people would offer literal olive branches. In Rome, for example, defeated armies traditionally carried olive branches to indicate that they were surrendering, and the Greeks incorporated them into weddings and other ceremonies. In the modern era, the branch is usually metaphorical, rather than literal, not least because the plants can be a bit difficult to obtain.”

    http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-it-mean-to-extend-an-olive-branch.htm

    Israel has changed all that. Israelis just destroy.

  3. Boomer
    Boomer
    August 19, 2015, 4:06 pm

    Thanks for posting this sad news. I wish it were on ABC, CBS and NBC, but I’m pretty sure that Americans won’t learn about it there. Same old story, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation. The U.S. is guilty of enabling this kind of thing time and again.

  4. bintbiba
    bintbiba
    August 19, 2015, 4:50 pm

    It is like a virtual knife is twisting in my weary heart !!
    It is akin to sacrilege against the bountiful land they claim to revere !!

  5. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 19, 2015, 5:22 pm

    Worse than animals. Amigo is right, they are becoming like ISIS, destroying everything in their path to take over the land, stopping at nothing, not even to spare lives.

    I wonder if zionist lovers like Geller and Bill Maher are okay with this savagery.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie
    August 20, 2015, 12:04 am

    The title “the uprooting of the ancient olives trees” is violent as is the act itself. What have these ancient olive trees borne witness to on this land? There have been, thank God, witnesses to the innumerable atrocities that have happened and continue to happen. There must be just as many that have not been documented by man, but witnessed by God’s other creations – the land itself, animals and the life-giving olive trees? The trees would weep; maybe they do.

  7. jfennelly
    jfennelly
    August 20, 2015, 3:07 pm

    Ben White also covered this today. He bridged this story to another he did in 2004 about the Saba family who was kicked out of their land where Har Gilo now stands. Now they are being walled off from this confiscated land. Inch by inch they take and take.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/20528-israeli-bulldozers-are-back-in-beit-jala

  8. catherinewriter
    catherinewriter
    August 20, 2015, 3:51 pm

    What, they ran out of Palestinian olive crops to uproot? These people are truly not welcome in the world.

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