Trees Illegally Uprooted Near Karmi Tsur, Roadblock Closed

27 April 2007

The nearly 300 olive trees planted near Karmi Tsur by the people of Beit Ommar along with international and Israeli activists lasted 4 days before the Israeli army and settlers uprooted them. Though the land is considered by even the Israeli High Court to be Palestinian, and a commander on site when the trees were planted last saturday said the farmers were allowed to plant there, other soldiers promised that they would simply come later and uproot the trees, and they kept their word. When PSP went to check on the trees, we found only 7 remaining. Though we were prevented by settler security from checking the entire length of the fence where the trees had been planted, from what we were able to observe of the 3/4 of the area, nearly all of the trees had been destroyed. Not satisfied with simply uprooting the trees, or stealing them for their own purpose, the settlers and soldiers cut the branches of the trees, pulled up the root packs, broke those in half so that the trees could not be replanted, and left them on the ground. It was clearly an act of destruction, nothing more.
The settlers have keys to the gates through the fence so that they can come and go onto Palestinian land at will. Of course, Palestinians have no access to the other side of the fence, though the Israeli Supreme Court ordered that they be granted access to that land, acknowledging that the land on both sides of the fence, including the land that the olive trees were planted on, is Palestinian. The uprooting and destruction of the trees was simply an display of control; that all Palestinian land is at the mercy of Israel.

On the same day, in another display of control over Palestinian life, the Israeli Occupation Forces again closed the roadblock that PSP has opened 4 times. It blocks the only other entry/exit point to the village besides the main road that is completely controlled by an Israeli watchtower and gate. PSP, as usual, is committed to keeping this road open, so that Palestinians can maintain their universal right to freely move into and out of their village.