Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime – The Economist

by Pressenza Hong Kong, 11. November 2015.

Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime – The Economist

Palestinian woman defends olive tree

(Image by by Frank M Rafic)

The uprooting and cutting down of over a
million olive and fruit trees in occupied Palestine since 1967 is an
attack on a symbol of life, and on Palestinian culture and survival,
writes Dr. Cesar Chelala. A grave crime under international humantarian
law, the arboricide is also contrary to Jewish religious teachings.

By Dr. Cesar Chelala

The Economist writes: During the last few years, Palestinian olive
trees – a universal symbol of life and peace – have been systematically
destroyed by Israeli settlers. “It has reached a crescendo”, stated a
spokeswoman for Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization
monitoring incidents in the West Bank. “What might look like ad hoc
violence is actually a tool the settlers are using to push back
Palestinian farmers from their own land.”

The tree and its oil have a special significance throughout the
Middle East. The olive tree is an essential aspect of Palestinian
culture, heritage and identity, and has been mentioned in the Bible, the
Qur’an, and the Torah. Many families depend on the olive trees for
their livelihood.

Olive oil is a key product of the Palestinian national economy, and
olive production is the main product in terms of total agricultural
production, making up 25% of the total agricultural production in the
West Bank.

Palestinians plant around 10,000 new olive trees in the West Bank
every year. Most of the new plants are from the oil-producing variety.
Olive oil is the second major export item in Palestine.

Over a million trees destroyed in 40 years

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