The US Campaign to End the Occupation & B’Tselem – 2010-11-05 22:23:05
Stand with Palestinian Farmers: Replant a Tree!
The US Campaign to End the Occupation & B’Tselem
(November 5, 2010) — Settlers in the West Bank are on a rampage. There have been 35 incidents of settler vandalism against Palestinians during the 2010 olive harvest season. The Israeli army has been using Caterpillar D9 bulldozers (the same US-built machine that crushed and killed US peace activist Rachel Corrie) to clear Palestinian trees.
The settlers, with control over the Israeli government, are emboldened, especially now that their ability to block progress in peace negotiations has stood unchallenged. The inability of anyone in the world to stop them — including the Obama Administration — is now painfully apparent.
Last weekend, four Israeli human rights organizations sent a letter to the Israeli army decrying the escalation of settler vandalism. It demanded that the army take steps to guarantee full protection from damage to Palestinian property, particularly olive trees. We’re not holding our breath.
We have pledged to stand up against this aggression the only way we know how — through nonviolence, and by standing in solidarity with Palestinian farmers.
What can we do to show solidarity with Palestinian farmers, and help them resist these assailants who seek nothing less than ethnic cleansing? Here are my suggestions:
* Stop the US government and US corporations from providing direct and indirect support to settlers. Join our latest petition drive, in partnership with the Rachel Corrie Foundation, which demands that the US government stop supplying Caterpillar bulldozers to the Israeli military.
* Raise awareness in your community about the “Stop the Wall” Campaign and stand up and be heard during “Israeli Apartheid Week.”
ACTION:Join us in pledging to replant olive trees destroyed. See last story for details.
* Replant olive trees in Palestine by joining Trees for Life. A gift of $25 covers the cost of planting a tree and supports our work here in the United States. Especially for the upcoming holidays, please consider this gift for a loved one.
Rob Mosrie is Executive Director of the US Campaign to End the Occupation of Palestine.
35 Acts of Tree Vandalism in Six Weeks
TEL AVIV (October 28, 2010) — Four Israeli human rights groups — The Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights and Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights) — sent an urgent letter today to senior Israeli military commanders, in which they called on the commanders to take all necessary steps to ensure that Palestinians and their properties are protected from violence and damage during the current olive harvest season.
The letter, signed by Attorney Maskit Bendel of ACRI, Attorney Michael Sfard of Yesh Din, Jessica Montell of B’Tselem and Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, was sent to Central Command Chief, General Avi Mizrahi, and to the commander of Israeli military forces in the West Bank Brigadier Nitzan Alon.
The letter contains a list of 35 incidents in which damage was caused to Palestinian olive trees or property. The incidents occurred between early September and mid-October — at the start of the olive harvest season. In most of the reported cases, a complaint has been filed with the authorities.
Seven out of the 29 incidents took place in the villages of Burin and Hawara, which border with the settlement of Yitzhar; there were also attacks on olive trees have reported in the villages of Far’ata, Til, Imatin and Yanoun, adjacent to the outpost of Havat Gilad. The worst incident so far has been reported in these four villages — the arson of hundreds of olive trees on October 15th.
The organizations’ letter states that according to eyewitnesses, the aforementioned arson attack occurred in the presence of Israeli soldiers, who did nothing to prevent it. Moreover, eyewitnesses claimed that some soldiers even barred Palestinians from accessing the scene and extinguish the fire.
According to human rights organizations, this is not the first year that Israeli citizens damage Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank — in fact, this is a recurring phenomenon which peaks every year around the beginning of the olive harvest. The organizations have called on the Israeli authorities many times before to take all necessary steps to “fulfill duties and obligations and protect the rights of residents who live in the occupied region.”
Nevertheless, the letter states, “the regrettable outcome of the incidents described herein proves once and again that the steps taken by the defense forces are insufficient, and the result is a blow to the livelihood of many Palestinian residents.”
ACTION: Replant an Olive Tree in Palestine
Action Link: End the Occupation
For centuries, these olive trees have formed the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. Yet, as part of its illegal military occupation, Israel has systematically uprooted these Palestinian olive trees by the thousands to clear land for illegal Israeli settlements, apartheid fences and walls, and to dispossess Palestinian farmers of their lands and livelihoods.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is proud to partner with Canaan Fair Trade and its Trees for Life program to replant olive trees in Palestine.
You can help Palestinian farmers remain steadfast on their land and non-violently resist Israeli occupation by donating money to replant an olive tree.
For every $25 tax-deductible contribution you make to support the work of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, we will replant one olive tree in Palestine. Donate $100 and we will replant five trees. Make your tax-deductible contribution today.
After making your donation, the US Campaign and Canaan Fair Trade will send you via email a Trees for Life Certificate. You can replant a tree in your name or in honor of a loved one. Just let us know how youâ€™d like the certificate to read when you make your donation.
Please allow two weeks to prepare your certificate.
Remember that it is our tax-payer dollars, in the form of nearly $3 billion per year in military aid to Israel, that are financing the Israeli armyâ€™s purchase of Caterpillar bulldozers and backhoes used to uproot these olive trees. Please make your tax-deductible contribution to the US Campaign today so that we can both help replant olive trees and continue our work to end US support for these and other Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.
PS: To make a donation to replant an olive tree by phone, call (202) 332-0994 to donate via credit card. Or, mail a check, money order, or cashier’s check to: US Campaign, PO Box 21539, Washington, DC 20009. Be sure to indicate that your donation is for our replanting olive trees campaign and the name you would like printed on the certificate.