Trees and Justice
Two days ago a group of illegal Israeli settlers crept into olive groves in the village of Burin near Nablus. There they destroyed 36 mature olive trees.
This is a tiny part of the day to day reality of the illegal occupation of the West Bank by Israel.
Five years ago the Ecologist reported “During the last few years, Palestinian olive trees – a universal symbol of life and peace – have been systematically destroyed by Israeli settlers.
“It has reached a crescendo”, stated a spokeswoman for Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization monitoring incidents in the West Bank. “What might look like ad hoc violence is actually a tool the settlers are using to push back Palestinian farmers from their own land.”
Over the past fifty years, over a million olive trees have been destroyed, the main means of rural survival. A year ago, the Israeli Human Rights Organisation B’Tselem reported that between May 1 and July 7 , more than 2000 trees including fruit trees, olive trees and grape vines, belonging to Palestinians, have been destroyed. Some of these Olive groves have been continuously tended for over a thousand years.
In Palestine the dispossession of the indigenous people is not driven by greed. It is driven by nationalism. Israel wants to build a state throughout historic Palestine for Jewish people alone.
Israel was established on Palestinian land and has continued to take more land by expanding settlements and push Palestinians into ever smaller enclaves, much like the South African Bantustans.
Israeli policies are driven not by Judaism but by the politics of Zionism, a form of settler colonialism, that believes in privileging the position of one ethnic group over another. If we wish to live in a world free of racism, part of the struggle is to support the Palestinians.
The issue of the Jewish National Fund and trees will be looked at later webinars