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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Arabs’

The Passion of the Olive Trees*: Settlers Pelt US Diplomatic Personnel in the West Bank

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

{Originally posted on author’s website, LIBERTY UNYIELDING}

Some of the basic things America is losing with the onset of the Obama administration are sanity and common sense in our diplomatic representation abroad.

An unfortunate example of this decline occurred on Friday, when some of our own “Jerusalem consulate personnel” were reportedly attacked by Israeli “settlers” throwing stones, during a visit by the Americans to the site of an alleged “settler attack” on the olive trees of a Palestinian Arab grower in the West Bank.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said no one was hurt and the American security team had not drawn their weapons. Earlier reports had indicated that American security staff had done so; settlers were quoted saying the security personnel had drawn an M-16 and a pistol.

“We can confirm a vehicle from the Consulate General was pelted with stones and confronted by a group of armed settlers today in the West Bank, near the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya,” he said.

“Our personnel were in the area looking into reports that settlers had uprooted some 5,000 olive tree saplings in that area in recent days,” he said, adding that the visit had been cancelled after the attack.

Now, hold it right there.  We can certainly question the wisdom of roaming foreign territory, making independent inquiries into criminal allegations about property damage.  We can question what exactly gives us a charter to do that (especially without having coordinated the visit with the local authorities first.  See more here).


Palestinian Arab woman, overcome by the pruning of olive trees.

But even before getting to that question, we have to question the wisdom of “investigating” one of these recurring, unsubstantiated allegations about settlers attacking Palestinian olive trees.  Researching the matter reveals that the “information theme” about it is a big racket.

For one thing, there is never the slightest evidence that Israeli settlers did anything to the trees.  It would take days of work to achieve the effects offered as “evidence” by the complaining Arabs:  lopped-off old-growth branches, great piles of newer-growth branches, piles of burned branches, trunks cut back to a state of near-pristine nudity.  The allegations about uprooted saplings – always “hundreds” or “thousands” of them – are not accompanied by affecting photos, as the allegations of attacks on more mature trees are.  But uprooting thousands of saplings would also take days of work. Yet Israeli settlers are never caught on camera attacking olive trees.  This is logically impossible.  It’s impossible for settler posses to raid olive groves, wreaking havoc that would take them days of dedicated work to accomplish, and never be caught in the act.
Palestinian Arabs inspect piles of olive tree prunings left by vandals in Qaryut, Oct 2013.

Palestinian Arabs inspect piles of olive tree prunings left by vandals in Qaryut, Oct 2013.

But we have more to go on than that.  It turns out that the “damage” we see in the photos of olive trees “attacked by settlers” is identical to the effects of olive-tree husbandry as practiced by olive growers around the world.

Start with this University of California manual on pruning olive trees, published in 1966.  The images alone convey the sometimes-startling visuals that go with maintaining producing olive trees.  Not everything that needs to be done looks “kind” to the tree.  Some of it looks pretty drastic, and may be done with big machines.  If you’ve ever driven along California State Highway 99 during pruning season, you’ve seen the results with your own eyes.  You could well be tempted to think, “Man, those Israeli settlers really get around.”


(Pic#1) Normally pruned olive trees in the center. Image from a grower in Italy at http://notesfromatuscanolivegrove.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/pruning-the-olive-trees-before-and-after/

The pruning pile grows as the Italian grower takes us through the pruning process. (Notes from a Tuscan Olive Grove; see link at photo above.)

(Pic#2) The pruning pile grows as the Italian grower takes us through the pruning process. (Notes from a Tuscan Olive Grove; see link at photo above.)


Another Tuscan grower’s image of a pruning pile and well-pruned trees. His caption for this photo reads: “things are starting to look good.” Image from http://www.mapitout-tuscany.com/2013/03/olive-tree-pruning-in-italy-photo-guide.html

(Pic 3) Another Tuscan grower’s image of a pruning pile and well-pruned trees. His caption for this photo reads: “things are starting to look good.”


But it’s not all mere pruning, as we think of pruning; i.e., as a selective process that leaves the tree basically intact.  Often, olive growers are preparing their trees for top-grafting: the process of grafting new-growth cuttings onto old-growth branches.

An Italian grower cuts off limbs to prepare an olive tree for top-grafting. Image from http://www.joe-ray.com/motherland/archive/2007/03/ Read more at http://libertyunyielding.com/2015/01/04/passion-olive-trees-settlers-pelt-u-s-diplomatic-personnel-west-bank-video/#sGoOoAeTfE4tsLTX.99

An Italian grower cuts off limbs to prepare an olive tree for top-grafting.

The Italian grower makes an incision for the graft. Read more at http://libertyunyielding.com/2015/01/04/passion-olive-trees-settlers-pelt-u-s-diplomatic-personnel-west-bank-video/#sGoOoAeTfE4tsLTX.99

The Italian grower makes an incision for the graft.


A grower demonstrates a completed top-graft on an olive tree.

This is the process that requires cutting the main branches back to a state of dramatic-looking nudity.  During preparation, the main branches receive clean perpendicular cross-cuts, right across the branch – exactly as seen in many of the images of Arab growers’ olive trees supposedly “attacked by settlers.”


A Palestinian Arab poses with his olive tree, vandalized with remarkable precision to be ready for top-grafting

Burned piles of branches?  It’s an ordinary part of pruning.  But when the big main branches are cut off for top-grafting, the wood can go to the thriving olive-wood industry, which has a long-celebrated artisan foothold in the West Bank, but also produces numerous wood products, from flooring to kitchen implements to paper, wherever olive trees are cultivated around the Mediterranean (e.g., Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain).  A search on “olive wood industry” will verify this to your satisfaction.


A Tuscan grower photographs his pruning fire in a series of images demonstrating the process for pruning olive trees. Image from www.mapitout-tuscany.com/2013/03/olive-tree-pruning-in-italy-photo-guide.html

Other bloggers have pointed out some of this in the last decade (see here and here, for example).  In 2012, the Blaze provided a video taken by Israeli settlers, which the settlers say shows the Arabs themselves making the cuts on their olive trees that then yielded the photos of “damage.”


An Israeli bulldozer uproots olive trees in Beit Jala in Mar 2010.



Another view of the Israeli bulldozers uprooting olive trees in Beit Jala in Mar 2010

 In terms of logic, this supposition is clearly more credible than the hypothesis that Israeli settlers can do silently and invisibly what the Israeli government has to do by deploying teams of workers to operate big machines in a noisy and detectable manner.

One final note.  As discussed in the Blaze story (as well as here, more recently), anti-Israel activists – i.e., foreign NGO workers – reportedly take part in the false-flag “attacks” on the West Bank olive trees.  These are the organizations that later spread the allegations about settler attacks.

This brings us full circle to the original story about the incident on Friday involving personnel from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.  What are our people doing, skulking around the West Bank as if the U.S. State Department is a radical-left NGO?  Beyond the stupidity of the political theater, there is the sordid possibility that some questionable damage claims are made just to get monetary compensation.  And the Obama State Department doesn’t even demand video evidence, at a minimum, before it goes off ambulance-chasing.

* The title invokes the theme “The Passion of the Toys” proposed (with sardonic intent) by blogger Slublog in August 2006.  He compared a series of emotive images posted in the mainstream media, of seemingly unaffected children’s toys lying in the rubble of sites damaged by Israel’s 2006 operation against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.



Netanyahu: ‘UNHRC Legitimizes Hamas & ISIS; Nothing to Look For Here’

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Israel is not likely to cooperate with a “kangaroo court” style investigation under the auspices of a committee set up by the biased United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made that clear in his response to Canadian legal professor William Schabas, the head of the committee, who advised on Tuesday that it is in Israel’s “best interest” to cooperate with his investigation into Israel’s defense against Palestinian Arab terror — and particularly Hamas efforts to terrorize — Israeli citizens.

Netanyahu spoke with reporters in a news briefing following a meeting with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who flew to Israel to show his solidarity with the Jewish State.

“New York has always had a special relationship with Israel,” Cuomo told reporters. “As Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to threaten Israel, now is the time to deliver that message of solidarity in person.”

The prime minister, who was asked whether Israel will cooperate with the UNHRC investigation, had some advice of his own for the committee (video is in Hebrew).

“The UN Human Rights Council gives legitimacy to murderous terrorist organizations such as Hamas and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria),” he said.

“Instead of inquiring into Hamas’s attacks on Israeli civilians and its use of the residents of Gaza as human shields, and instead of inquiring into the massacres that Assad is perpetrating against the Syrian people or that ISIS is perpetrating against the Kurds, the UN has decided to come and check Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East, a democracy which is acting legitimately to defend its citizens against murderous terrorism.

“The report of this committee has already been written,” he said.

“The committee chairman (Canadian law professor William Schabas) has already decided that Hamas is not a terrorist organization; therefore, they have nothing to look for here.

“They should visit Damascus, Baghdad and Tripoli; they should go see ISIS, the Syrian army and Hamas – there they will find war crimes,” Netanyahu advised.

“Not here.”

Anti-Israel UN Investigator Prof. William Schabas ‘Can’t Say’ If Hamas is Terrorist Entity

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

The man chosen to head the United Nations Human Rights Council’s latest probe into the war in Gaza won’t state clearly whether Hamas is a terror group. Moreoever, he says “some believe Israel ‘gets off easy’ at the UN Security Council.”

International Law Professor William Schabas, appointed to head the UNHRC probe into Operation Protective Edge, also claimed in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro Tuesday that past comments he has made on the record, accusing Israel’s government leaders of war crimes were “exaggerated.”

Schabas was questioned about his alleged bias against Israel, which has led the foreign ministry to advise the prime minister not to cooperate with the investigation.

The man selected to investigate Israel’s counter terror operation against Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem this summer said a year ago that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his choice of a leader to send to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro began the interview with a polite, if not cordial tone.

“Good evening Professor Schabas. Shall we say congratulations?”

“Uh… perhaps,” Schabas answered carefully.

Kushmaro then went right for the jugular, asking the UN investigator about his suggestion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his “favorite” world leader to be brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague to face war crimes charges.

“Not President Assad of Syria, Not Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal – you said, ‘Netanyahu.’ Can you explain why?’ the interviewer asked pointedly.

Schabas looked uncomfortable.

“We were having a discussion about the International Criminal Court,” he said, “and the fact that the International Criminal Court had focused all of its attention on African countries. I had referred to a statement by Archbishop Tutu, where he had said, ‘Tony Blair should be brought before the International Criminal Court to show that it can deal with Western countries as well as with countries from the south, and particularly from Africa.

“And so I said, well, uh, my favorite would be Netanyahu. I was, of course, echoing what was in the Goldstone Report, which is that the International Criminal Court should deal with the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, concluding the possibility that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed during Operation Cast Lead.

“But as you know the International Criminal Court never did address those matters. So that was the context of my comment.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid quickly pointed out in subsequent comments that the Goldstone Report was compiled during the administration of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not Netanyahu.

Schabas has also said he believes that former President Shimon Peres should stand trial before the Court as well.

The interviewer asked him whether he, as a professor of international law, would advise his own client to cooperate with “such an investigation” given what he had just heard.

“I think this is a great exaggeration of some of the statements. I expressed opinions about political leaders in the past. Is there a human being in Israel who’s never expressed political opinions about leaders in Israel? Once someone who sits in a commission or as a judge has to do is to put these things behind them, and start fresh, and this is of course what I intend to do.”

Kushmaro: Do you plan to investigate Hamas crimes as well? Are you really able to investigate a terror organization who threatens its own people?

Schabas: “I cannot tell you what the commission is going to do in terms of interpreting its mandate because I’m only one member and I haven’t had a meeting with the other commissioners. We will have to agree on the interpretation…

Hebron Boy Allegedly Killed in Arab Riots

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

An 11-year-old Arab boy has allegedly been killed in violent Arab rioting Sunday morning in Al Fawwar, on the outskirts of Hebron.

Gaza-based Hamas agitators and their sympathizers in Judea and Samaria have been urging Palestinian Arabs and those with Israeli citizenship to increase participation in violent incidents as much as possible in order to expand a budding third intifada.

On Sunday morning, the IDF soldiers were trying to contain the violence around Hebron, which included Arabs in the mob hurling bricks and other items at the Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Authority sources claimed the child was killed by Israeli gunfire. An IDF spokesperson told TheJewishPress.com the IDF is “checking the report.”

Israel Govt: ‘Operation Continues Until Quiet and Security Restored’

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Palestinian Arab factions are growing impatient waiting in Cairo but Israel says truce talks are over until the rocket fire stops.

After a weekend in which Gaza terrorists fire more than 100 rockets at Israel, representatives of the Palestinian Arab factions in Cairo say they will leave on Sunday, because Israel refuses to negotiate under fire.

At 12:44 pm Sunday afternoon, a Code Red alert was flashed to residents of the Kerem Shalom community and surrounds, giving them 15 seconds to find shelter. It was the seventh such attack since midnight.

“Operation Protective Edge continues,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated as he opened Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting at the offices of the defense ministry in Tel Aviv.

“We have not, at any point, said that it ended, and it will continue until it has achieved its goals. This will take time,” he said. “Israel will not conduct negotiations under fire and will work to change the reality to return security to its citizens.”

Because Hamas flatly refused to extend the cease fire, and Gaza terrorists began shelling southern Israeli communities four hours before the truce officially was set to end Friday morning, the Israeli delegation left Cairo. Representatives of the various Palestinian Arab factions – and those of Hamas as well, apparently – remained in Cairo, believing Egypt could persuade the Israelis to return.

But Jerusalem and Israel’s citizens have had enough of the incessant rocket attacks raining down upon civilian families, and no one is willing any longer to live their lives under fire. By Sunday morning, those factions were “threatening” to leave Cairo if the Israelis “don’t return to the table in the next 24 hours.”

The threat has moved no one in Israel, especially since Gaza terrorists had already fired six rocket attacks at Israeli civilians early Sunday morning.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said bluntly that he expected little, if anything, to result from such talks. “From the beginning I said that our goal should be to defeat Hamas… their minimal demands are beyond Israel’s maximal position. This situation cannot continue. If my recommendations had been accepted we would not be in this situation.”

Liberman’s view was supported by Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who agreed that Israel needs to “destroy Hamas’s military power in Gaza. It was true in the past, and it is true now, in order to allow residents of the south to return home.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed to silence the rocket fire – as he has in the past – addressing the growing outrage from southern residents who were told just three days ago that it was now “safe to go home.”

“If Hamas thinks it will exhaust us, it is wrong,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said. “We will not negotiate under fire. We entered talks in Cairo in good faith, and Hamas decided to renew its rocket fire on Israel.” The IDF responded with air strikes that destroyed a number of terrorist targets in Gaza.

“We will not compromise until rocket fire and terror completely stop,” Ya’alon promised. “We see the greater political and military picture, and we will not end the operation until quiet and security are returned to Israel’s citizens.”

Arabs Riot at Rachel’s Tomb, Border Guards Wounded

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Two Border Guard security personnel were lightly wounded while trying to control a mob of some 600 Palestinian Authority Arabs rioting Friday afternoon near Rachel’s Tomb.

Three of the rioters were allegedly shot in the legs with rubber bullets, according to the Hebrew-language 0404.co.il website.

The rioters burned tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at the Border Guards, who at first used standard crowd control methods but then allegedly opened fire when all else failed.

The scene at Rachel's Tomb on Friday afternoon, when hundreds of Arabs rioted violently at the urging of Hamas terrorists in Gaza. August 8, 2014

The scene at Rachel’s Tomb on Friday afternoon, when hundreds of Arabs rioted violently at the urging of Hamas terrorists in Gaza. August 8, 2014

Security personnel succeeded in dispersing most of the mob but about 100 of the hard-core rioters remained into the early evening hours.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have urged Arabs in Israel to riot and attack Jews in as many ways as possible, to encourage a budding third intifada.

The tomb of the Jewish matriach, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, barely five minutes south of Jerusalem.

Due to Palestinian Arab violence, Israeli authorities were forced to build high, strong walls around the once-modest tomb, transforming it into a virtual fortress in order to protect the Jews who visit the site to pray.

Former Human Shield Victim Defends IDF

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

A former victim of the Palestinian terrorist groups’ use of human shields has courageously appeared on a national American television network to defend IDF military actions in Gaza. Brigitte Gabriel, author of ‘Because They Hate,’ appeared on the Fox News cable television network program, ‘The Kelly File,’ to discuss the question of whether or not Israel is to blame for the many civilian casualties in Gaza.

What she had to say – in lightly Arabic-accented in Israel – may have been a complete surprise to the millions of American viewers who have been fed on a steady diet of little other than scenes of bleeding, dead children and women with Israeli soldiers and gunfire.

‘The Palestinians have perfected using children to win the world’s sympathy,” she said, “and this goes back 30 years.”

Between 1975 and 1976, Gabriel herself was used, along with her own mother and siblings, in her family’s bomb shelter.

“We were nine children hiding in a bomb shelter,” she related. “My mother went out and begged the Palestinian leader who parked his cannon – they used to park their rocket launchers in front of our homes, launch at Israel fully knowing that when Israel retaliates we’re going to make the Evening News and they would move their rocket launcher from home to home, fire one rocket in front of each home and move away…. The Palestinians have perfected the propaganda war. They cannot win militarily against Israel so what they do is they use their own children as disposable collateral in order to win the war of public opinion against Israel.

The United Nations has sharply condemned Israel over its attacks on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists who positioned themselves close to UNWRA (UN Works and Relief Agency) schools and other facilities, where Gaza civilians were sheltering. During those firefights, civilians were wounded, provoking the outrage of the international community, which was only allowed to view scenes of carnage that appeared to be caused by Israeli missile or mortar fire.

News photographers are intimidated – and sometimes outright threatened by Hamas terrorists – to keep their camera lenses away from any scenes that might document the truth of the matter. Cowed into obedience and knowing the long arm of the terror groups can also reach overseas, they and their news agencies have long since come to understand it is not worth the price of their lives to do otherwise.

One Italian journalist was brave enough to tweet the truth in a post on the Twitter social networking site once he reached the safety of his home country, Italy, last week.

“Israel is always careful with civilian lives. Israel goes out of its way,” Gabriel stated bluntly. “What other country drops leaflets by the thousands warning civilians to leave because they’re gonna bomb in 48 hours? What other nation gives such notice? They do it in Lebanon, they do it with Hezbollah in Lebanon during the war. They do it with Hamas in Gaza. If the civilians do not leave, we need to ask why.”

Gabriel also pointed out that of all the rockets and missiles fired by Hamas at Israel, more than 100 fell short and actually exploded in Gaza.

“So all the casualties that Hamas is talking about are not exactly Israeli casualties or because of Israel. It’s because the Palestinians do not value the lives of their children and they are willing to sacrifice their children in the cause of jihad (Islamic holy war).”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-human-shield-victim-defends-idf/2014/08/05/

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