The Palestinian Authority has announced it will plant 750,000 trees in Judea and Samaria, enough to make a land grab in all of “Area C,” which officially is under Israeli sovereignty.
The tree-planting is ostensibly meant to replace those allegedly damaged by Jews, but that number is only 4,000, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.
Caretaker Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said at the 13th annual Olive Harvest Festival in Bethlehem on Saturday that planting trees is important to jobs and economic development.
However, planting that many trees would not be good for the economy or for olive orchard owners because the astronomical number would flood the market and drive down prices.
The announcement in fact marks the beginning of a massive land grab that has been slowly underway for 15 years, with the helping hands of the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the Civil Administration.
The strategy has been to encroach on what used to be Jordanian government land that came under Israeli authority in the Six-Day War in 1967. Virtually all of the land south of Hevron, and a large portion in Samaria, north of Jerusalem, never has been under any private ownership. The Turkish authorities in the Ottoman Empire often divided up the land among their friends, without any official title.
The situation remained constant under Jordanian rule, which was even more of an occupation than that allegedly exercised by Israel. The Arabs refused to accept the United Nations Partition plan that would have created a Trans-Jordan country over most of what is now Israel. After they lost the war to destroy Israel, Jordan, without U.N. approval, took over most of Judea and Samaria and administered it just as Israel does today, although with far less interest in its development.
After 1967, Israel used some of the government land for new Jewish communities, but most of it remained barren. Arabs generally were not interested in expanding – until they saw Jews settling around them.
After the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Israeli government and particularly the Civil Administration, acted to defend Arabs who decided to plant on government land, even where Jews already had farmed it for years.
Organizations such as the lofty-sounding Rabbis for Human Rights, along with foreign leftists and anarchists of the International Solidarity Movement, literally worked for the Arabs and uprooted trees that had been planted by Jews and replaced them with saplings on behalf of the Palestinian Authority Arab comrades.
I have previously reported that I was eyewitness to this phenomena several times, and each time the military and Civilian Administration ruled in favor of the Arabs, even though there is no legal ownership.
A quick math exercise shows that 750,000 olive trees will more than cover Area C, which covers approximately 500,000 acres, including thousands of acres that are not suitable for olive trees. It would result in overcrowded orchards where the trees could barely survive, if that. The recommended density is approximately 100 trees per acre.
Even if the 750,000 trees were to be distributed over the entire 1.5 million acres of Judea and Samaria, including Areas A and B under total or partial Palestinian Authority control, there would be plenty of trees left over.
The political result, and the mathematical result, is that the PA with European Union money, has found the ultimate weapon. Once the PA surrounds Jewish communities with Arab farmland, which it will claim has been theirs since Biblical times, Tzipi Livni can simply sit back in her armchair and wait for terrorists to make life miserable for the Jews and create a new version of Gush Katif.
In that scenario a decade ago, Jewish woman, men and children were killed and wounded right and left, leaving the government and the chorus from foreign and local mass media to come to the conclusion that, “Yes these Jews really are the ‘salt of the earth’ but let’s expel them for their own good.”
A personal note to Tzipi: Remember, you live in northern Tel Aviv.
Remember that after the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, you and your cronies said Hamas would not attack again.
Remember, Tzipi, the government let southern Israel suffer from missile attacks but woke up when Tel Aviv was threatened.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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