Tu BiShvat is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (starting this Wednesday night). It is also called Rosh HaShanah for the Trees because it determines the age of fruit trees in for the tithing of their yield. In Eretz Israel since the beginning of the Zionist enterprise, Tu Bishvat has had a special meaning, celebrating the revitalizing of the land with the planting of trees.
But this year it appears that the Palestinian Authority has culturally appropriated Tu Bishvat, in open defiance of the law, the Oslo Accords, and the right of Israelis to their share of the liberated territories.
On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority held a ceremony of planting about 2,000 olive trees on state land west of the village of Deir Balut. The area is part of the IDF’s 203 firing zone, located east of the city of Rosh HaAyin, within the green line, near the separation fence.
A firing zone is an area allocated by the state to the army for training using live fire. And since live ammunition is frequently used in the firing zones, entry is prohibited for anyone without prior coordination with the military authorities. But large firing zones, such as the one outside Rosh HaAyin, are not fenced and are only marked with signs on the roads leading there. This means that lawless individuals are free to go in and do whatever the heck they wish.
Enter the Palestinian Authority, which, as seen in the video and photos published by Fatah Radio, which is affiliated with the PLO, has violated the law and then documented it on social media. In the video, a PA policeman can be seen to have also entered the IDF firing zone and participated in the celebration while carrying a firearm, despite the fact that PA police are not allowed to enter Area C with their firearms.
The Hebrew text over the video points at the Israeli city of Rosh HaAyin:
The Arab Tu Bishvat event was part of a broad movement that has taken place in recent years, in which the Palestinian Authority plants millions of trees and illegally takes over thousands of acres in Area C in Judea and Samaria—which is ostensibly under full Israeli control.
The “agricultural takeover” promoted by the Palestinian Authority is intended to seize land adjacent to key roads, Israeli municipalities, state lands, and areas of high political significance so that they can claim them in future negotiations.
The Regavim movement reported that “the big money comes from Europe, the zones are carefully selected and the strategy is clear: setting facts on the ground within spitting distance of Rosh HaAyin and Gush Dan.”