Beit Ommar Plants Olive Trees Along Settler Fence

22 April 2007

Yesterday, the Popular Committee of Beit Ommar invited international and Israeli activists to plant 300 olive trees in the land near the extremist settlement, Karmi Tsur. Karmi Tsur has been a focus of Palestine Solidarity Project’s work recently because of its aggressive policy of consficating land from Beit Ommar and harassing farmers working their land near the settlement. Yesterday, over 30 Palestinian farmers of Beit Ommar along with nearly 20 Israeli and international activists continued their defiance of the confisgation of their land by planting nearly 300 olive trees along settlement fence and in the fields just below.
When soldiers arrived they first were given the order that the Palestinians were, in fact, allowed to plant along the fence. As more jeeps (and officers) came, their instructions became more and more bizarre. First, the new commanders insisted that the trees could be planted near the fence (less than 2 feet away) but not further away from the fence on an area of land that had been stripped during the process of constructing the fence because “it was not agricultural land”. Finally, the soldiers, with encouragement from settler security, came up with the arbitrary number of 6 meters from the fence. One soldier said in english “6 meters” and then counted in hebrew, “echad, shtiyim, shalosh, arba, chamesh, sheva” (“one, two, three, four, five, seven”). Apparently, even the soldiers were confused about this order. They then began to forcefully interfere with the planting and attempted to pull out some trees that they deemed ‘too close’, sometimes pointing to only a few inches away as the “correct” distance from the fence. Despite the continued interference by the Israeli Occupation Forces, the farmers and solidarity activists completed the task at hand and planted trees along over 50 meters of the fence.