Israeli forces on Monday uprooted dozens of olive trees from a plot of land in the village of Jayyous, east of the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilia.
The military used the pretext that the land is under Israeli military jurisdiction – but the village of Jayyous is facing a massive theft of land by Israeli forces for the purpose of expanding the state of Israel, in direct violation of international law.
Nathem Salim, the landowner, told Wafa News Agency that the soldiers uprooted 100 olive trees after razing 30-dunums of his land, which he stressed is not located within Israel’s apartheid barrier.
According to an account by a Palestinian farmer from Jayyous in the Electronic Intifada in 2004, “Israel finished building the Wall in my village in July, 2003. I did not want to apply for a “permit” to go to my own land, so until last October I camped on my land in a makeshift shed and did not return to my house in Jayyous. Then there was a military crackdown. The Israeli army threatened that not having a permit could result in a heavy fine and a month in detention. So I returned to my village and applied for my permit and only received it five months later.
“When I returned I was shocked by the damage neglect had caused my orchards. It was as if I had been gone for five years, not five months. I felt all the trees blaming me as I inspected the mango, the avocado, the walnut, the pear, the apricot, the peach and the fig. I thought about every stage of their lives: from building the retaining walls, stone by stone, plowing the land, to creating the reservoir and beginning the planting. I spoke with every tree and promised I would repair everything.”
Over a million Palestinian olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli forces and colonial settlers over the past 40 years.
Olive trees are a mainstay of the Palestinian economy.