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Knesset candidates plant olive trees with Palestinian farmers

Palestinian activists build new protest camp near Jerusalem to protest displacement of West Bank Bedouin, settlement expansion; the Israeli army dismantles the camp.

Iman Odeh, Dov Khenin and Aida Touma-Suliman of Hadash planting trees in Kfar Yassuf, February 4, 2015. (Photo: Ala Yediya)

Iman Odeh, Dov Khenin and Aida Touma-Suliman of Hadash planting trees in Kfar Yassuf, February 4, 2015. (Photo: Ala Yediya)

Over 100 Israeli activists, among them four Knesset candidates in the upcoming elections, joined Palestinian farmers in from the West Bank village of Kfar Yassuf to plant olive saplings to mark the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat. The activists planted the trees near the Israeli settlement of Tapuach, an area where olive trees have been uprooted time and again, allegedly by settlers. Israeli soldiers prevented the farmers and activists from reaching the area in which they had planned to carry out the action.

The action was planned by the “Olive Harvest Coalition” and Rabbis for Human Rights. Also taking part were Hadash members MK Dov Khenin, head of the Arab Joint List Iman Odeh and Aida Touma-Suliman, as well as Meretz candidate and former MK Mosi Raz.

“We came to Kfar Yassuf because it suffers from a relatively large number of incidents of uprooting trees, and we wanted to bring a message of peace in response to the messages of hate, said Rabbi Kobi Weiss of Rabbis for Human Rights.

Planting olive saplings in Kfar Yassuf, February 4, 2015. (Photo: Cindy Katz/RHR)

Planting olive saplings in Kfar Yassuf, February 4, 2015. (Photo: Cindy Katz/RHR)

“Olive trees are the main source of income of the village, and they are a symbol of peace,” MK Khenin wrote on his Facebook page, adding that the tree planting was the first such action by Hadash list for the next Knessset. “With these seeds we planted more seeds of joint struggle, seeds of peace and a normal life, for a future of independence and justice for the two peoples in this land.”

Under the pretext of lack of coordination, Israeli soldiers refused to allow the activists and Palestinian farmers from entering the area designated for planting, according to a statement from Rabbis for Human Rights. The land is privately owned by the Palestinian villagers.

New protest camp against displacement of West Bank Bedouin

Palestinian activists have been struggling for a small peace of land outside of Jerusalem. Activists belonging to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee showed up on the piece of land near Abu Dis on Tuesday and erected an encampment called the “Jerusalem Gate.”

The action follows a similar project two years ago, at “Bab a-Shams,” in which Palestinian activists reclaimed a plot of land near Mishor Adumim. Around 100 activists took part and dozens remained until the Israeli army cleared the camp Wednesday morning. The activists re-pitched the camp on Thursday but the army once again dismantled it.

The first night in the “Jerusalem Gate” protest camp near Abu Dis. (Photo by Amin Alwaye)

The first night in the “Jerusalem Gate” protest camp near Abu Dis. (Photo by Amin Alwaye)

“We decided to build this new encampment on land that the occupation is trying to seize in order to evict Bedouin communities from their homes, emptying the Jordan Valley,” PSCC activist Mundir Amira said. “We were there with the land owners in order to support them, residents of Abu Dis, as well as the Bedouin communities.”

The “Jerusalem Gate” camp was strategically placed in an area the army plans to forcibly relocate various West Bank Bedouin tribes. The action is meant to oppose that plan, as well as Israeli settlement plans that aim to encircle Jerusalem, thereby effectively cutting the West Bank in half.

“The soldiers came and forcefully removed us, hitting us and using stun grenades — and seizing the equipment that we brought, including heaters and water,” Amira said. “We will continue to come back here, to pray on Friday and to create a permanent presence for the struggle.”

The Bedouin relocation plan has been the subject of numerous other actions in the past year, including a protest in Ramallah against the participation of a Palestinian architectural firm on contract with the Israeli army

The IDF Spokesperson had not responded to a request for comment on either incident at the time of publication.

Dozens of olive trees felled in suspected settler violence
In Bab Al-Shams, Palestinians create new facts on the ground

This article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    1. Bryan

      Splendid news – with Israel’s main-stream politicians do their best to delegitimize Israel it is always heart-warming to realize just how many of Israel’s citizens do have a vision of justice, peace and equality. And thank you Rabbis for Human Justice for again demonstrating that Judaism can be relevant not only to life, politics and society in the pluralist world of the Diaspora, but also has a contribution to make in this God-forsaken corner of the world.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      And lest we forget that the settlers chop down Palestinian olive trees all the time while the government turns a blind eye:


      NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers tore down more than 170 olive trees in the village of Yasuf south of Nablus on Sunday, the third such attack in the West Bank in three days.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      Why Tapauch? The Tapauch region has been the target of continuing violent attacks by Arabs against Israelis. Did you see any of these activists protesting Arab attacks against Israelis in the Tapuach region?

      In February 2010 Ihab Khatib, Druze soldier is shot dead at Tapuach Junction.

      On or about May 10, 2010 two Arab terrorists with explosive devices and firebombs were caught, at the Tapuach checkpoint.

      On or about March 9, 2011, a terrorist with 6 bombs was arrested at Tapuach checkpoint.

      On January 27, 2013, a 17 year Jew was stabbed at Tapuach Junction by an Arab.

      On January 29, 2013 Israel arrested 3 bombers at the Tapuach Junction.

      On April 30, 2013 a 31 year old Jewish man, husband and father of five children, an actor who worked with children suffering from distress caused by terror attacks, was stabbed to death by an Arab at Tapuach Junction.

      On September 17, 2013 Israel arrested two more Arab men in possession of firebombs at Tapuach Junction. Two days later another pair of Palestinians carrying firebombs were arrested at Tapuach Junction.

      On or about November 7, 2013 an Arab shot at civilians at Tapuach Junction. IDF responded and killed the attacker.

      On April 15, 2014 a stabbing attack was prevented near Kfar Tapuach.

      On May 30, 2014 an Arab suicide bomber was detained before detonating his device at Tapuach Junction.

      On June 3, 2014 a group of soldiers were attacked by gunfire at Tapuach Junction. The attacker was a member of the Palestinian police force.

      On October 2, 2014 a terrorist attack at Tapuach Junction was prevented with the arrest of 2 Palestinians in possession of bombs, a pistol and several knives.

      On December 29, 2014 IDF killed a Palestinian terrorist hurling rocks at vehicles near Tapuach Junction. The hurling of rocks at civilians in the Taupauch is nearly a daily occurrence causing property damage and injury.

      Is it not ironic that potential Israeli MKs plant Palestinian trees while ignoring the protection of Israeli life.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        So you’re saying the olive tree demolitions are justified?! Collective punishment is ok?

        Can you provide us as well with a list of statistics on Palestinian deaths, home demolitions, administrative detentions and so forth?

        Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        So is Tapuach an illegal outpost/settlement at the very heart of the West Bank which was deliberately established simply because it would somehow improve Isareli security, or is it just an exercise in dispossession, and foolishly the natives don’t react kindly to the process. Has a nation with thousands of years of oppression not learned anything along the way?

        Reply to Comment
        • Deborah

          Thank you, Bryan for this comment.

          Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Kfar Tapauch is a long standing Israeli community in the heartland of Samaria. It was founded by Yemenite Jews in 1978. Since then it has grown to 200 families. It has a daycare, nursery school, kindergartens, a grade school, a large playground paid for by American friends and hesder yeshiva. It has businesses, a goat farm and an apiary. It houses workers and businessmen, students studying and academics teaching in Ariel, workers who work with thousands of local Jews and Arabs in the Barkan Industrial Park outside of Ariel, workers who work in the community, and it has 5 different synagogues serving the diverse makeup of the community. Several persons are involved in tourism in the region taking advantage of the thousands of years of Jewish heritage and history in the region.

          It is about a 40 minute drive from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. It is minutes away from other Jewish communities in Samaria.

          Kfar Tapuach – Hebrew for “Village of Apples” is built close to the biblical town of the same name. Children who were raised in the community served their time in national service and the IDF, returned and had their own children and the small community has grown.

          Kfar Tapuach is no different from many other small towns in Israel, or the United States or Canada. It is made up of ordinary people raising their families and enjoying community life.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            A “long-standing community founded in 1978” in a country where Jews have been present for thousands of years sounds to me to be a pretty feeble gloss on things. I don’t really care what call this place – but calling it Samaria makes about as much sense as saying Paris is the capital of Gaul or the largest city in the United States is New Amsterdam. Remember that the UN carefully gerrymandered the suggested 1947 borders (55% of mandate Palestine) to include as many Jewish settlements as possible) and that the eventual 1948 borders (79% of the territory) included added even a few more. Would it not have been possible (in the interests of peace and normality) to have left the remaining 21% entirely to the Palestinians. What possible connection have Yemenite Jews, later converts, to whatever happened in “Samaria” centuries ago?

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            “I don’t really care what call this place – but calling it Samaria makes about as much sense as saying Paris is the capital of Gaul”

            The UN in resolution 181 known as the partition plan, which was violently rejected by Palestinian Arabs, the Arab League and Arab states alike, refers to Judea and Samaria. So it makes much sense to refer back to Judea and Samaria before the time it was 100% ethnically cleaned by Arab forces.

            “What possible connection have Yemenite Jews, later converts, to whatever happened in “Samaria” centuries ago?”

            As far as Jewish Yemenites go, Yemenite Jews lived in Judea and Samaria were ethnically cleansed by the Arabs in 1948. The American library of Congress had pictures captured by American Colony residents in the early 1880s of Yemenite Jews living in Jerusalem.

            Yemenite Jews were also cleansed from their homes in Silwan (Kfar Hashiloah also known as popularly known as Kfar Hatemanim, the Yemenite village). They also lived outside the walls of the City of David.

            So, it is only natural that Yemeni Jews return to live in their homeland.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            UN Resolution 181 made one passing reference to “Samaria and Judea” but in part two, section A, where the boundaries of the Arab state were delineated. If that is the best case you can make for the modern non-Zionist use of the term then your case is pretty feeble. A few hundred Yemenite Jews did come to Palestine from 1881 onwards but they settled largely in Jerusalem and Jaffa not in the central West Bank. Most were lured there by the World Zionist Organization which sent as envoy Shmuel Yavne’eli to Yemen in 1911-1912 to encourage Jews to emigrate to Palestine, since few European Jews wanted to have any truck with Zionism. The vast majority of Yemenite Jews (49,000) were transported to Israel in Operation On Wings of Eagles (June 1949-September 1950), a botched operation in which 850 died in transit, 1000 children were lost and many died like flies in transit camps (as David Ben Gurion’s diary records).

            You assert that “Yemenite Jews lived in Judea and Samaria were ethnically cleansed by the Arabs in 1948” but the only evidence you offer relates to Jerusalem. What on earth you mean by your assertion that “it is only natural that Yemeni Jews return to live in their homeland” – goodness only knows – I hope your are not suggesting that they be expelled from Israel/Palestine in order to return to Yemen, just as Eritrean and Sudanese refugees are being “returned”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Judea and Samaria were separate terms in use prior to the 1948 war. For instance the 1936 report on Mandate Palestine to the League of Nations mentions both Judea and Samaria to describe certain areas of Mandate Palestine.

            Jerusalem is described as the capital. Where is it described as being located?

            “Jerusalem, situated in the midst of the hills of Judea,”

            Now how is the location of Nablus described?

            “Nablus, the ancient Sichem, in the hills of Samaria”

            The mountainous regions of Mandate Palestine and also described as including Judea and Samaria:

            “The second strip consists of two distinct mountainous regions divided sharply by the plain of Esdraelon. To the north of that plain are the mountains of Galilee extending beyond the Syrian frontier and rising to Jebel Jermak to a height of 3,934 feet above sea-level; to the south are the mountains of Samaria and Judea, which in places reach heights little less than those of Galilee. Most of this second strip of country is desolate and stony, but at irregular intervals there occur stretches of fertile land capable of deep tillage.”

            Not one mention of the West Bank.

            When the Yemeni Jews made Aliyah to Israel by walking over land, they came to live in Judea and Samaria, there was no West Bank. Jerusalem and Silwan were part of Judea. 10% of Yemen Jews came to Judea and Samaria to settle in the Aliyahs under Ottoman rule.

            Kfar Tapauch is short drive from where Yemeni Jews settled in Judea.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            So I still don’t understand this crazy fetish with names. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is no more legitimate because you call that area Judea and Samaria. I come from a geographical region called East Anglia which happened to coincide with an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom once upon a time, but by calling myself an East Anglian I do not legitimate a restoration of the ancient kingdom of East Anglia. You could call the West Bank “Uunoccupied-Territory” or Non-Apartheid-land” or “Unoppressedsville” or “The-only-utopia-in-the-middle-east” or whatever you wanted to but the name you gave it would not change the reality on the ground.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Jewish rights to the restoration of their historic national home was approved under international law while no such right was ever given to any people to the kingdom of East Anglia. By virtue of the unanimous members’ approval of the League’s of Nation Mandate for Palestine in 1922, the historical connection of Jews to the area constituted as Mandate Palestine, their right to “reconstitute” their “national home” in Mandate Palestine, together with the right to close settlement and development in any part of the mandated territory was recognized under binding international law.

            Here is what the mandate stated, in part:

            “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”

            ART. 2. The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine,

            ART. 4. An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country.

            ART. 6. The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

            ART. 27. The consent of the Council of the League of Nations is required for any modification of the terms of this mandate.”

            Besides the truncation of 77% of the mandated territory for the Arab-Palestinian-Bedouin territory and later state of Jordan, the council to the League of Nations did not alter the rights given to Jews to close settlement, development and self governing institutions of the lands of Mandate Palestine which included all lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Those rights remain valid rights at law today.

            The United States which was not a member of League of Nations at the time ratified the terms of the Mandate for Palestine and incorporated it in a 1925 treaty with Great Britian, which has the effect of incorporating the Mandate as good American law.

            The Jewish rights under the mandate were ratified under the UN Charter of 1945 which enshrined the law that previous rights under Mandates could not be taken away from the people benefited therein without their consent.

            “Article 80

            1. Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77, 79, and 81, placing each territory under the trusteeship system, and until such agreements have been concluded, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

            The armistice agreement of 1949 made it plain that the establishment of armistice lines were not borders and neither Israel nor Jordan was giving up any claim to territory it had made. Israel claimed it had the right to sovereignty of Judea and Samaria which had been illegally occupied by the Jordanians in contravention of the terms of the Mandate for Palestine which forbade any part of Mandate Palestine being placed in the hands of any foreign power.

            “ART. 5. The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.”

            For 19 years Judea and Samaria were placed under the control of a foreign power and Jews were prevented from exercising their rights given to them under international law.

            In 1967 Israel liberated Judea and Samaria from illegal Jordanian occupation. Since then Jews have been able to exercise their rights given to them under international law.

            In 1988 Jordan gave up all claims to Judea and Samaria leaving Israel with the only sovereign claim against the territory.

            So, to this day, Jews have the right to live in and settle in Judea and Samaria.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            There are of course those who argue that the Mandate directly authorised the creation of a Jewish state and the associated ethnic-cleansing of the indigenous population. But remember that the Mandate was awarded under article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations that viewed the territories of the collapsed Ottoman Empire as communities that “have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.” This appears to be as close to a promise of imminent self-determination as the manipulative colonial great powers would concede. The terms of the Mandate insisted on “safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion” which hardly seems a recipe for expulsion and dispossession, and Article 7 insisted “here shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine”, suggesting that the framers were offering Jews the opportunity to live in Palestine as a binational state rather than promising them an ethnocracy. Had Zionism contented itself with the small minority of Jews who adopted its principles simply living in a land with which they had some historic connection, rather than immediately plotting a full take-over, the history of the region would surely have been a good deal happier.

            Reply to Comment
      • Linda Carraway

        Your sources, sir?

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          If you want sources for the quoted events, check out jerusalem post, times of israel, ynetnews, Israelhayom, arutzsheva, elder of ziyon, algemeiner, maannews among others.

          Also if you type in the alternative spelling “Tapuah” in a search you will find more instances of attacks by Arabs at or near this small community. For instance arutzsheva reported on September 1, 2014

          “Just shortly afterwards a bus driver was also lightly wounded on the road between Migdalim and Kfar Tapuah in Samaria, after Arab terrorists threw two molotov cocktails at him.

          One of the firebombs struck the bus’s windshield, shattering the glass and wounding the driver who was treated on the scene…”



          Reply to Comment
    4. Mikesailor

      Linda: Who are you asking to source their writings? Pedro Pan, who is known to basically make things up, or someone else? With Bryan, for instance, hope springs eternal and he is optimistic that there are some sensible Jews in Israel who will promote human rights and justice. I believe they exist, but they are too few in number and many suffer from self-imposed limits on what they can say lest they be labeled as “self-hating” or “traitors” to the tribe. Bruce tries to educate the hasbaristas by using small words and lots of video, news clippings and historical references but you have to realize that the Zionists have been brainwashed to obfuscate and prevaricate (in other words : Lie) for so long, they wouldn’t know the truth if it rose up and bit them. So, any “history” they attempt to tell should be rigorously examined preferably from a non-Zionist reference for most is made up out of whole cloth. I am probably the least compromising of the lot which is why the hasbaristas usually run away. So, who are you querying anyway?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Tomer

      Bryan’s problem is that he refuses to give up the ghost.

      There are 400,000 Israelis in Judea-Samaria. This Israeli Jewish population averages 3 kids per family and more than that in Judea-Samaria. Over the next 10 years, the area will top half a million and will then continue to grow afterwards.

      PS: This prognosis assumes that Israeli nos continue to grow by births over deaths alone. If another big immigration wave comes from Europe / US my prognosis is a massive under-estimation (not unlikely given Western economic debts).

      A fakestine that never was, will never be. TIME TO GIVE UP ITS GHOST!

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        You are indeed establishing facts on the ground at a rapid rate of knots, but the net effect is simply to make peace and a two-state solution impossible, and to further delegitimise Israel. Of course this does not bother you but when the Apartheid regime is finally fully formalized Israel will be a pariah nation and the last remaining crutches of hasbara (a peace loving nation, and the only democracy in the region) will have been carelessly discarded.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Mikesailor

      Tomer: How we’ve missed your voice of inanity. So, if Palestine will, according to you “never be”, what do you plan to do with all those pesky non-Jews who apparently “don’t exist”? A new Final Solution? Transfer? Creating a new polity wherein they receive the vote and full civil rights, in other words a state of citizens with equal protection for all and no special privileges for Jews? A formalized Jewish apartheid state? Are you really that stupid or did you forget to pick up your brain after it was Zionist dry-cleaned? Come on. ANSWER COWARD.

      Reply to Comment
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