Nature in War
The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture reported on Nov 27 that Israel uprooted 44,000 trees in the past eight weeks. The Israeli occupier is uprooting olive trees, grapevines, palm trees, almond, oranges, figs, strawberry, guava, banana, eggplant and other types of fruit trees. It is also calculated that within the period of Nov. 9 through Nov. 27, the Israeli "Anti-Crops" army has flattened well in excess 70.0 hectares in the Palestinian Territories. This might strike the emergency cord within the larger countries, but it is of a paramount importance to us, smaller countries. The West Bank, for example is comprised of 582,200 hectares of which Palestinians inhibit only 3.67%. Israeli colonies, closed military areas and bases or nature reserves (declared for military purposes) or forests occupy the remaining 52.06%. Only 6% of the 21,345 hectares is designated as agricultural land. That is 1,282 hectares in total (MEnA). It is apparent, now, that any bulldozing of any agricultural land, no matter how small it may seems, carries an enormous consequences as far as the Palestinians are concerned.
The following occurrences exemplify some of what has taken place during the past few weeks and are not conclusive to all the incidents that took and will take place: the Israeli authorities bulldozed throughout the day (Nov. 15) large areas of agricultural lands, farms and Palestinian homes throughout the Gaza Strip. In one incident in Rafah, a family whose lands were being bulldozed attempted to protest against the Israeli authorities, when the Israeli military fired a shell from a nearby tank, injuring 6 children in the head with shrapnel. They are in critical condition (Addameer.org). Elsewhere in the West Bank, In Salfit, at least 6.0 hectares of olive groves were bulldozed and trees uprooted, and a water cistern supplying water to a number of orchards was destroyed.
Figure 5: Even the Trees Didn't Survive the Israeli Aggression.
Israeli settlements and settlers play a major role of the destruction of the Palestinian fertile land and environmental habitat. In Bethlehem as is in every Palestinian town, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian residents either traveling on major roads, attempting to harvest olive orchards, or in residential areas continue, in addition to the destruction of Palestinian agricultural lands. In Beit Ummar, settlers bulldozed and destroyed a large vineyard, uprooting hundreds of grape vines. In an instance dated Nov. 26th, the Israeli military bulldozed approximately 6.0 hectares of Palestinian lands along all settler by pass roads, clearing a distance of approximately 200 meters on each side of the roads, uprooting any trees in the area in order to combine them with the already existing and expanding settlements.
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