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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Postcard from Palestine 8 - Trees destroyed in revenge

Hebden Bridge's Ron Taylor is a regular visitor to Palestine, part of an international movement of supporters.

In an extraordinary few weeks emotions have fluctuated wildly here in the West Bank. From apprehension when war broke out yet again in Gaza, to anger when the scale of the Israeli attack on the civilian population became clear, to fear when rockets from Gaza landed near Bethlehem. Then came relief with the ceasefire, followed a week later with a touch of joy when the UN voted overwhelmingly to support Palestine.

Postcard from Palestine

Some of the tree destroyed by settlers in Derat.
Carmel settlement in the background

The celebrations were somewhat muted - Palestinians have been here before and know not to expect too much, if anything at all. (The expected punishment from Israel was announced yesterday- 3,000 more Jewish only homes to be built on occupied land). Nevertheless the vote was seen as a one in the eye for Israel from people across the world. Particularly gratifying was the number of European countries voting against Israel, many for the first time. Sadly, the UK government was not one of them, a point noted by Palestinians - after all it was Britain which handed over Palestine to the Zionists.

But recent events did nothing to interrupt the daily grind of the military occupation of the West Bank and everything that goes with it. Nothing stopped the theft of land, the settler violence, the house demolitions, the arbitrary arrests, the denial of human rights.

Two days after the ceasefire in Gaza came into effect  400 trees (mainly olive but also some soft fruit) were damaged or destroyed in the tiny village of Derat in the South Hebron Hills. Two days later I was with Ta’ayush (The Jewish-Arab partnership) and we went to look  - a sad sight indeed. The perpetrators of the crime, who will almost certainly never be brought to justice, were without doubt Jewish settlers; they left a calling-card. Daubed in Hebrew on a large rock were the words ‘ price tag’  - settler revenge for Gaza rockets.It is thought that the attackers came from the nearby illegal settlement of Carmel.

The trees themselves were paid for and planted by the Keep Hope Alive campaign - a project funded through the YMCA with the help of individual donors from mainly European countries. A very good Palestinian friend runs the campaign; he tells me he will make sure all the trees will be replaced when funds are available. As Xmas presents this year all our family members will receive a certificate saying they now own an olive tree in Palestine !

I notice that on December 13th Hebden Bridge Cinema will be showing ‘Five Broken Cameras’. It was made by people from the village of Bil’in, a place I know well and which has been at the forefront of non-violent resistance to Israel’s aggressive and illegal policies in the West Bank. Please go and see it. I will be there too.

See also

Postcard from Palestine 7 - Normal life in Palestine

Postcard from Palestine 6 -Beer festival and closed military zones (2 November 2012)

Postcard from Palestine 5 - April 2012

Postcard from Palestine 4 - attacked by settlers

Postcard from Palestine 3 - detained by the Israeli army (16 March 2012)

Postcard from Palestine 2 (19 Feb 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Postcard from Palestine

Postcard from Palestine 1 (8 Feb 2012)

HebWeb News - Hebden Bridge Old Gits support Palestinian farmers

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