It considers it an enemy and plans to attack it.. This is how Israel targets the Palestinian olive trees
Nablus- Traces after an eye, the olive trees of the Palestinian farmer, Muhammad Asi and his cousin Samih, have become after the Israeli occupation and its military machine reached them and uprooted more than 500 trees in the middle of this month, leaving great destruction and devastation on the land, and depriving him of his annual production, estimated at about a ton of oil.
This was not the only attack that targeted the trees of the citizen Asi, along with hundreds of farmers, in his town “Qarawat Bani Hassan” near the city of Salfit and various Palestinian areas in the West Bank. The Israeli violations affected more than 13 thousand trees since the beginning of this year, according to a report prepared by the Land Research Center (a non-governmental organization). government) to celebrate the International Day of the Olive Tree, and a copy of it reached Al-Jazeera Net.
And until last November 14, Muhammad brought us back to tell us that large forces of the occupation army – including dozens of workers in civilian clothes – stormed his land at dawn after they surrounded the area militarily and prevented anyone from accessing it, and even he was detained by the soldiers for about two hours when he tried to enter and assure them that it was his land and that He has proof of that.
How is the cutting done?
This “disaster” did not occur, as Assi describes it, to him alone, even if he was affected more than others, but it targeted about two thousand trees, and targeted lands of more than 150 dunams (a dunam equals a thousand square meters), and he tells Al Jazeera Net that the occupation uprooted 500 trees from their land, claiming It is a “nature reserve” and within the “C” areas under its security control.
In 2012, Assi, like others, received an Israeli notification targeting the land and its trees, but he appealed the occupation procedure by a decision of the Israeli court that he has the right to work on his land and re-register it in his name to confirm his ownership of it, in addition to notifying him of any step of the occupation a month before implementation.
About a ton of oil, at an amount of $6,000, is produced by the Asi trees, which are estimated to be about a quarter of a century old, and twice that produced by the rest of the citizens’ trees that were targeted by the occupation in its recent campaign.
This explains what the occupation army did, in a dangerous precedent, by storming the village and surrounding it militarily, and immediately in front of the people by cutting down trees with chainsaws and uprooting them with bulldozers, then pouring chemicals on their roots to kill them completely and destroy the farmers’ tools completely.
Ibrahim Assi, the mayor of Qarawat Bani Hassan, says that the most dangerous thing than targeting trees publicly and without warning is targeting the entire land as it is located in Area C.
And this – adds Asi – warns of great danger, given that the occupation classifies 92% of the village’s lands, estimated at 9,500 dunums, in areas “C” and wants to empty the land of people, stones and trees, “to satisfy the settlers who besiege the village through 7 settlements, one of which confiscates 200 dunums from the village.”
How many olives do the Palestinians plant? What does the tree mean to them financially and morally?
It is not only the most famous, but the olive tree is the oldest in Palestine, and the ancient Palestinians were the first to develop its cultivation, extraction and investment of its oil, and Palestine has the oldest olive tree in the world in the village of Al-Walaja, south of Jerusalem, whose age was estimated by experts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at about 5500 years, which is greater than all the occupations that passed on Palestine.
According to the statistics of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, olives are the largest agricultural crops in Palestine, constituting 45% of the total agricultural area and more than 85% of the area of horticultural trees planted in Palestine.
About 100,000 Palestinian families (more than 600,000 people) work and benefit from this sector, while the area of olives is about 907 thousand dunums (a dunum = one thousand square meters) with 13.6 million trees, of which about 11 million are fruitful and about 2.6 million are non-fruit trees. .
Olives are a main source of food and income for the Palestinian citizen, in addition to being a factor of stability and steadfastness for him, and constitutes an impenetrable bulwark by defending and protecting the land, and the Palestinian is linked to olives religiously, politically, culturally, historically and emotionally.
That is why successive occupation governments have targeted the olive tree in their plans since 1967, “and considered it an enemy no less dangerous than any resistance fighter, and planned to target it as they plan any military action,” according to Mahmoud al-Saifi, director of the Land Research Center in the northern West Bank.
How does the occupation target Palestinian olives?
Since its occupation of Palestine in 1948 and then the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel has been wreaking havoc with the olive tree, targeting it by uprooting, cutting, and extermination through pollution and poisoning. Since the beginning of the occupation, more than 2 million olive trees have been uprooted, the latest of which is 13,130 trees this year, according to the Land Research Center.
With arguments advanced by the occupation, such as public parks, natural reserves, military and archaeological areas, and by classifying it as “C” areas, amounting to 62% of the West Bank, the occupation targets the Palestinian land and uproots its olive trees.
And it uses military force through the army to achieve its goals, while the settlers – in addition to their attacks – monitor the Palestinians and report any step they take, such as cultivating their lands with olives, reclaiming them, or building on them, as the “Regavim” settlement association does.
Why does the occupation target Palestinian olives?
The occupation practiced a full-fledged crime against the olive tree, as it tried to falsify history by stealing large and perennial trees (Roman), then targeted olive lands, taking advantage of the vast majority of them located in areas “C”, while its settlers resorted to stealing olive fruits and attacking farmers while working their lands.
The occupation deliberately uprooted trees to facilitate its appropriation – according to its unfair laws – of the land after it turned into fallow land (the law of barren and non-durable land is exploited for 10 years), according to Mahmoud al-Saifi. During the past four years, the Land Research Center in the northern West Bank documented the uprooting of more than 50 thousand by the occupation army. Olive Tree.
How much did the Palestinian lose as a result of uprooting the olive trees?
In general, the violations of the occupation and its settlers against about 9 thousand olive trees caused a loss of more than 6 million dollars this year, but the most dangerous – according to Ramez Obaid, head of the Olive Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net – is the isolation and confiscation of tens of thousands of olive trees by the occupation.
There is 7% of the olive area in Palestine located near and within the annexation wall, racial expansion and settlements, and it is estimated at about 70 thousand dunums, and it increases annually by more than 750 thousand settlers and because of more than 310 settlements and outposts, of which 107 settlements extend along the separation wall.
The owners of the land are prevented from accessing it except through permits and for limited and short times during the year and amid many obstacles and attacks, and this causes a loss of 5% of the annual production amount, which is estimated at 22 thousand tons annually.
How does the Palestinian respond to the occupation’s violations against his land and olive trees?
Alone and through various institutions, the Palestinian resists until his last breath in defending his land and olives, which are spoiled by the occupation and its settlers, so he replants trees or restores the damaged ones, especially if the occupation prevents them from being replanted again.
There are official and civil institutions that support the farms, including the Ministry of Agriculture, which documents the occupation’s attacks and provides about 200,000 olive seedlings annually in support of farmers, and contributes to the construction of roads and the reconstruction of the land. The Land Research Center has also been working on reclaiming 10,000 dunams since 2000 and planting them with more than 100,000 olive trees and tens of thousands of other trees.
As part of its campaign “Planting a Million Trees in Palestine”, which has been running since 2001, the Arab Society for the Protection of Nature in Jordan reclaimed about 132 thousand dunums and planted them with more than two and a half million trees for more than 30 thousand farmers, including more than one million and 300 thousand olive trees.
On the ground, the farmer is considered the first line of defense for his land and olives, and he receives annual support implemented by some different associations, such as the “We are with you” campaign launched by the Agricultural Relief and “Fazaa” carried out by activists against settlements and aims to help and protect farmers whose lands are close to the wall and settlements, and provide them with agricultural tools .