Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Planting Trees: An Illegal Practice

Read the press release about destroyed Palestinian olive trees below. Then after that read about Palestinians trying to replant the olive trees and being attacked and arrested.

AT-TUWANI, South Hebron Hills-In the afternoon of 14 January 2010, Palestinians discovered that a family-owned olive grove in Khoruba valley had been recently destroyed. Twenty mature olive trees were broken at their trunks. The family believes that Israeli settlers from the Ma’on settlement and Havat Ma’on outpost are responsible for the vandalism.

A Palestinian farmer informed CPTers who documented the destruction that this was the fifth time since 1997 that settlers have destroyed the olive trees in this grove. He also said that the trees would not be able to bear olives for at least three years.

This most recent attack on Palestinian agriculture follows a month of Israeli settler violence and harassment aimed at preventing Palestinian farmers from plowing their fields and thus earning their livelihoods.

For photos of the olive grove see,-destroyed-olive-grove

Several days later, Palestinians try to replant the trees and this is the outcome:

At-Tuwani Release: Palestinians plant olive trees to protest settler vandalism, despite Israeli military interventions and arrest of a journalist.

On 23 January, Israeli soldiers declared Palestinian land south of the Israeli settlement outpost Havot Ma’on (Hill 833) a closed military zone, then arrested a Palestinian journalist from Pal Media. The journalist was reporting on a demonstration organized by Palestinians from the village of At-Tuwani after the recent destruction of an olive grove. Despite the Israeli military interventions, the Palestinians successfully planted 20 olive trees during their demonstration.

While Palestinian farmers, accompanied by internationals, were planting olive trees, fifteen settlers approached the area, some carrying slingshots. Israeli soldiers and police also entered the area. The soldiers informed the Palestinians that the area was a closed military zone, showing them a map that encompassed a large area south of Havat Ma’on outpost. Police arrested the journalist, saying he had violated the closed military zone order.

So you plant olive trees on your own land. Several times in the last handful of years, Israeli settlers come out and destroy your olive trees in the middle of the night. You have the resolve and perserverance to replant those trees each time they are destroyed. You replant them, alongside your children and internationals activists and journalists who have come to help. Settlers come out in droves, calling the army who enforces a closed military zone which forces the you to leave your own land. Settlers are allowed to stay in the area, which is your land, while you are unable to even replant the trees which the settlers destroyed.

Not really sure what to say...that's how the cookie crumbles...if you are a Palestinian.


Allison said...

Hey Sam, don't know if you remember me from Jerusalem or not, but I'd like your permission to use some of your photos in a presentation. A couple of retirement homes want me to talk about "lifestyles and traditions" in the Holy Land. Thought I'd tell them about destroyed olive groves, among other things ... he he he he.

Let me know what you think!

Samuel Nichols said...


Yeah, of course I remember you. Yes, definitely feel free to use photos. You might find some additional useful photos at the CPT photo gallery:

Best of luck.