The “Palestinian JNF” has announced: ‘We will plant on thousands of hectares in Area C in response to [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
The Palestinian Authority and a left-wing Norwegian NGO have just announced their massive tree-planting campaign to cover thousands of hectares of land in strategic areas that are subject to full Israeli administrative and security control under the terms of the Oslo Accords. This, in response to President Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Part of the funding for this campaign is being contributed by the Norwegian Labor Party.
“The Palestinian Authority is grabbing land while the Government of Israel is turning a blind eye,” charged the pro-Israel Regavim NGO.
The Union of Agricultural Work Committees in the Palestinian Authority (UAWC), considered by many to be the Arab equivalent of the Jewish National Fund, issued a dramatic announcement on Sunday (24/12) that trees would be planted on thousands of hectares of land in strategic sections of Area C – which is under full Israeli administrative and security control under the terms of the Oslo Accords – in response to President Trump’s recent declaration regarding Jerusalem.
“This is a response to Trump’s recent decision declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of the Israeli Occupation State, which was accompanied by a declaration of the Occupation Government that it would build more than 14,000 housing units in Jerusalem,” said a statement issued by the UAWC.
“This is a response to the green light given by the USA to continued occupation. The only possible response to this crime is to strengthen the firm Palestinian stand on the ground. It is imperative that we safeguard the lands that are in danger of being seized and confiscated. Strengthening our farmers and planting in these areas will give these areas legal protection.”
According to the UAWC’s announcement, the campaign will focus on several strategic areas: The eastern part of Jerusalem, the Bedouin settlements around the areas of Maaleh Adumim and E1 area, and additional locations between Jerusalem and Jericho. Additionally, planting will be carried out in areas between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
In Gush Etzion, the campaign will focus on creating an “agricultural wedge” between Beitar Illit and Jerusalem, and between Beitar Ilit and the center of Gush Etzion, as well as the Eastern Gush Etzion region around Tekoa, where the Palestinian Authority has been carrying out large-scale land grabs for the past two years.
In Samaria, “which is under attack by settlers” according to the UAWC, the Arabs plan to plant in the area of Qusra, the village whose residents recently set out to lynch children participating in a Bar Mitzvah hike nearby, as well as the area of Urif, a Palestinian Authority village near Yitzhar.
Some of the funding for this campaign is being provided by NPA, a Norwegian organization supported by officials of the Norwegian Labor Party, among others.
Last week, a commitment for the transfer of $20 million for NPA activities in the Palestinian Authority was signed by Mette Nord, a high-ranking member of Norway’s Labor Party who served in the past as Vice- Minister in the Norwegian Prime Minister’s Office.
According to Regavim, this is part of the larger “Roots Project,” a comprehensive plan initiated by the Palestinian Authority to take control of tens of thousands of hectares of land in Area C through agricultural use.
“The PA had been using the method employed by the early Zionist pioneers – ‘One house at a time, one dunam, one goat’ – but over the past number of years their approach has changed,” says Yishai Hemo, Regavim’s director for Judea and Samaria.
“The ‘Roots Project’ seeks to take control of tens of thousands of hectares through agricultural work, clearly stating that this is purely a political tactic. While the PA is charging ahead, with the help of European funding, the State of Israel and the Civil Administration, which is responsible for enforcement of the law, are asleep with their eyes wide open, and have abandoned their posts.”