When 250 Trees are Jewish, Nobody Cares if they are Uprooted
On the 17th of February a call went out on the Sinjel Municipality Facebook page urging the Palestinian Arabs to come out for an undisclosed activity seeking to push Jews off the land. A rough Google translation of the post reads:
Your presence is a pure national duty..
A public invitation..
We call on landowners in the northern areas close to the settlements in the town (Al-Rafid and Al-Mughrabat) to be present on their lands tomorrow morning to reconstruct the land, reclaim it and prepare it for the cultivation stage, which we will announce later to preserve it from settlement and to prove its presence there.
Your presence is a pure national duty.
According to Rafael Fisher, representative of the Shiloh Bloq Local Council, this is just one example of the frequent announcements in the Arab media that call on Palestinian Arabs to:
“capture” land from the Jews and occupy it — state land. A friend of ours finds these easily by following Facebook.
This capturing and occupying of Jewish land by Arabs is taking place in Area C, the region assigned to full Israeli control in the contract signed ceremoniously by Yasser Arafat on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs and Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres on behalf of Israel, that is, the Oslo Accords.
Rabbis for Human Rights (sic), Combatants for Peace (sic) and other so-called human rights, but actually political, organizations make a big show of going out to fields outside of Arab towns, legal and otherwise, to plant trees and harvest olives. They claim their help is necessary because of settler harassment and violence, when “unprovoked” settlers rip up or burn their trees and/or assault them.
However, as shown by the example of the Facebook Post featured here, and as was demonstrated by Rabbis for Human Rights’ three-week deliberate campaign of harassment against Givat Ronen between January 21 and February 4, it is the Palestinian Arabs and their extreme leftwing Jewish Israeli collaborators who are doing the harassing. The only time events such as these make it onto the television evening news in Israel and create noise on international news websites is when the Jews are provoked into retaliating, the retaliation captured on digital film by cameras held ready by the provocateurs.
On Friday morning, February 18, the day after the Facebook post above, about 250 olive trees were uprooted by the Arabs called to action. Only three Hebrew language news websites reported on this and all three are rightwing and religiously oriented to varying degrees. It is as if the mainstream news media do not consider such wanton destruction, amounting to tens of thousands of shekels damage, newsworthy. Not when Jews are the victims of property damage. If a Jew was killed, well, that would make the news.
When olive trees planted by the South Hebron Hills community of Avigayil are uprooted four times in two months, who notices? One rightwing news site serving the religious Zionist population of Israel put out a brief announcement. Nobody else?
And thus, the damage at Nahal Shiloh Farm goes unnoticed by the bulk of the Israeli population. As if it never was. But leftwing activists will proudly demonstrate at the next opportune moment alongside Meretz MK Mossi Raz and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi and, in unison, chant the horrors of the “occupation” and recite condemnations against “settler violence”. And Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) feels totally justified in claiming that “settler violence” is a strategic threat to the State of Israel.
It is not as if the IDF did not know that neighbouring Arabs were planning something and the huge loss of damaged trees should have been preventable. Fisher said that the image on the Facebook post is clearly recognizable and shows the exact piece of farmland that was being targeted.
Michael Shamla, who lives on the farm with his wife and two young children, told HaKol HaYehudi that soldiers came after he called them about a group of Arabs congregated on his field, pushing them away from one point only to have them gather at another point. He recognized one individual, having seen him at other incidents; however the others were unfamiliar to him.
They were carrying hoes and they began to act as if they were weeding a previously plowed field. I did not give up and I told the soldiers that they were not on private land but, rather, they were invading a new plot of land and likely planning something.
The District Liaison and Coordination Officer, however, decided that they were not engaged in anything untoward and, therefore, the soldiers could not do anything.
I walked around the plots and saw that a large number of Arabs were around the farmlands. In order not to be dragged into anything by their provocations, I decided to go back into the farm.
Within a half-hour he got a call from someone telling him that the Arabs were uprooting his trees. He immediate rushed back out and the IDF came and made them back away. The Arabs had had enough time to uproot 250 trees, some of them destroyed and unreplantable.
The damage can be see here:
Shamla told HaKol HaYehudi that two weeks earlier, many of his trees were uprooted by Arabs and a week before that, his dog was stolen, still not returned. He fears that these behaviours are escalating and will only continue to escalate given the Arabs’ success in causing such extensive damage at Nahal Shiloh Farm and elsewhere.
When the Israeli mainstream media fails to produce meaningful reports of, not only multiple “minor” incidents, but even major events such as last Friday’s harassment of a Jewish farmer in Judea-Samaria by local Arabs and, instead, incessantly slanders the Jews under the derisive and dismissive term, “settler violence,” Israeli citizens are misled into believing the propaganda spearheaded by extreme leftist anti-Israeli organizations. Without having access to the facts, the public cannot make informed decisions regarding policies promoted by elected officials who are supposedly acting in the nation’s best interests.
One can only guess how the public would act were all the facts of what is happening in Judea-Samaria to be reported and contrasted with public statements of loud leftist MKs and government ministers.
This is a slightly modified version of the article also published on Israel National News.
Feature Image Credit: Screenshot of public Facebook Post by Sinjel Municipality showing plot in the Nahal Shiloh Farm.