Planting Trees near Karmie Tzur

7 March 2013

Today a group of 25 internationals accompanied by two farmers went to the farm land of Ali Ayad Awad and Ahmed Awad Marchid which lies beside the barrier fence on the north side of Karmie Tzur settlement. The owners of these plots of land suffer from violent attacks from settlers, Israeli army and border police, while they are trying to harvest their land. When the farmers arrived to the site near Karmie Tzur settlement an Israeli guard yelled to the farmers to come to the fence, “we are on our land” they told him, the Israeli guard replied “ god has given this land to the Jews, the Jews have been here for four thousand years. God is punishing you because you are Muslims” the settler answered to the farmers. The army throw sound grenades and tear gas over the fence from the settlement and on occasion the settlers and soldiers will cut down crops and trees.

Today the presence of 25 international volunteers protected the farmers enabling them to work in their farm land. The Norwegian volunteers are students of the Joint Advocacy Committee in Bethlehem. Today they planted 200 Olive trees in two patches of unharvested land. The tree planting project organized by the popular committee in Beit Ommar and Palestine Solidarity Project is a non-violent form of resistance to the occupation, a protection plan for the farmers who live close to the settlements. The harvesting of the land helps to insure the legal rights for Palestinian farmers. Often when Israel confiscates Palestinian land they argue that the land had been abandoned and not in use. In Beit Ommar and the surrounding villages PSP tries to help organize tree planting actions to support farmers livelihood so they can remain steadfast on their land.