The Danger in Planting Twenty Trees

Friday June 22, 2007

Twenty trees… that was all… the goal was to plant twenty olive trees on a small piece of property that was being illegally confiscated for the building of the Apartheid Wall; this is what the villagers in the South of Bethlehem wanted to do on this Friday. They were joined by other Palestinian as well as International and Israeli friends.

It was a nonviolent action that was part of a series of actions being implemented in these villages for several months now to protest the building of the Wall, the existence of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, and to try and save some of the 70% of the agricultural land that will be confiscated when (or if) the Wall is built. And today… we wanted to only plant twenty trees.

As soon as we reached the new asphalt paved road where the wall will be constructed (the paving makes it easier for the trucks to carry the big cement slabs), over seventy heavily armed and heavily protected Israeli soldiers emerged to stop us… The only way they communicated was through force. They were continuously given orders not to engage in any dialogue with us; soldiers who did respond to us on that basic human level received stares of range and anger from their commanders or other soldiers as if they were talking to a lower cast or lower human species.  Twenty trees… that was all we wanted to plant.

The Israeli army responded by violence; everything from pushing, hitting and even kicking us. Several people were injured including an Israeli female activist that was thrown forcefully to the ground. Two other Israeli activists were arrested. Even the farming tools were stolen at one point. Yes, twenty trees… One of the soldiers mokengly brought back one of the tools. THe farmer looked at it and said “what do i need this for now if i cant get to my land?’ A few moments later he returned, picked it up, put it on his shoulder and told the soldiers he will not stop.

What does it mean to stop farmers from planting trees on their land? Were the Israeli soldiers given orders to “protect” a farm land from its farmer is there something more to this? Even if (big IF) the wall was meant for security reasons as the Israeli government claims, what is the security in not allowing us fifteen minutes to plant small olive trees on a small piece of property? Or is there something they are not telling the rest of the world as to why they are building this wall…  Those of us who live here know the real reasons… do you?

What would you say to someone who prevented you from peacefully planting trees on your property and said that it was for “national security” reasons? Can you imagine this happening where you live?

Souther Bethlehem June 22 2007

Souther Bethlehem June 22 2007

Souther Bethlehem June 22 2007

Souther Bethlehem June 22 2007


12 thoughts on “The Danger in Planting Twenty Trees

  1. "Saoirse Palestini"

    Israel’s so called “security” is a prison sentence for the Palestinian people – innocent men, women and children. The “security” of one people can’t come about through the erosion the human rights of another people. Basic human rights, – freedom of movement, freedom of religious expression, freedon to LIVE!!
    Israel, your illegal wall WILL fall and your injustice WILL be exposed to the eyes of the world. We will NOT be silent until the people are FREE from your evil occupation and from the oppression of Palestine!
    Shame on you Israel, SHAME on all those in the world who contribute to this occupation. So called “Civilised” nations prove themselves to be true “rogue” states of the world.
    Long live peace and hope in the hearts of people. World waken up!!

  2. John Corbett

    Sami, it is good to hear what HLT is doing, especially in these difficult times for your land and people. I forwarded your message today to my church’s listserv. One way the seemingly impossible work you all are doing is important is it makes those of us living comfortable and protected lives more aware that we take so much for granted and need to be more engaged with the rest of the world. Another way your work is important is it demonstrates that Gandhi’s satyagraha is still a relevant way of tackling otherwise intractable problems in today’s world. Hopefully, you soon will be hearing from some more folks from Evanston, Illinois, USA. May peace be with you, John Corbett

  3. Jane Harries

    Dear Sami,

    Many thanks for this article. I will pass it on to as many people as possible, including my MP. What you are doing is an inspiration to us all, but it must be so hard for you in the face of such injustice and aggression. We can only think of you and pray for you – and spread the word as much as possible.
    In love and peace,

    Jane (Women to Women for Peace, UK)

  4. j lee

    Thank you for your bravery in continuing to peacefully protest the confiscating of your lands. You are indeed an inspiration to us all.


  5. It’s sadful to know that violence is still going on with the lable of peace. i encourage you and your israeli friends for putting up such bold steps. i believe there is no problem in this world which could not be solved. palestinian issues also could be solved, all needed is a close contact of people who believe in peace. Keep on doing your struggle for peace. You will succeed in on or another day.

  6. Sami, Your article will be so helpful in redressing the news we are receiving at the present time. It will help to give the true picture and I will pass it on where I can.

    You have many supporters here and this will not change until justice has been done for you and your friends and all the people of Palestine. Diana

  7. Patricia Woodcock

    Dear Sami and all,

    Your courage and determination are amazing. I will pass your story on to my local Amnesty International group. Amnesty has just brought out a report about violation of human rights in Palestine. I hope that hearing from supporters around the world will be a comfort to you all.

    Love and Peace, Patricia.

  8. Annerose Schulz

    Dear Sami,

    thank you for informing us. It is opening a gap in the wall.
    Please don’t stop. The hope and the true power is on your side.

    Annerose Schulz

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