[News] 36,000 Trees Set Ablaze in Occupied Palestine

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 27 08:35:49 EDT 2005

Trees of Land Set Ablaze in Occupied Palestine
Posted by: rycroft on http://PEJ.org Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 09:35 AM

36,000 Trees Set Ablaze in Occupied Palestine
stopthewall - Thousands of dunums of agricultural lands have been scorched 
in a series of devastating fires ignited by Occupation Forces and their 
settlers in the most fertile areas of Palestine. In the villages of Qaffin 
and Akkaba in Tulkarem District in the northwest region of the West Bank, 
over 36,000 trees in 4000 dunams have been burnt through five separate 
attacks since May 2005. Over the past three days alone, as fires continue 
to blaze through strong winds, 65% of Qaffin’s lands and 80% of Akkaba’s 
have been burnt, destroying collectively 80% of their ancient olive trees, 
15% of their almond trees, and 2% of their carob trees. Villagers and 
Palestinian firemen have been prevented by Occupation Forces and the 
Apartheid Wall from putting out the fires, unable to protect areas that 
remain tenuously unaffected. On July 7th, agricultural lands in Ain Yaboos, 
Nablus, were also torched in this same manner, destroying 130 dunams.


From: "Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign"<lists at stopthewall.org>
Subject: 36,000 Trees of Land Set Ablaze in Occupied Qaffin and Akkaba
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 13:17:52 +0200

Steering The Vision of Expulsion:

The lands set ablaze have been confiscated and isolated behind the 
Apartheid Wall since 2002, and declared a "closed military zone" accessible 
only to Occupation Forces and the few farmers who have recently been 
allowed to cross. On July 24th at eleven am, villagers noticed their fields 
on fire directly after Occupation Forces left the area. Palestinian firemen 
attempting to access the burning fields were denied entry through the gate 
of the Wall, as Occupation firemen on the scene stood by watching the fires 
intensifying. Farmers have had tremendous difficulty caring for their lands 
since the Apartheid Wall was erected, yet their determination to fight for 
their land has been unremitting.

Qaffin and Akkaba are situated in an area known as the breadbasket of 
Palestine, the heartbeat of economic and agricultural activity for 
Palestinians that is rapidly being appropriated and destroyed. The burning 
of already expropriated Palestinian land builds upon a long and elaborate 
racist structural system of Zionist Occupation designed to expel 
Palestinians from their ancestral lands. The Apartheid Wall is an integral 
element of this broader scheme that has unfolded in progressive stages: its 
construction, the annexing of Palestinian land, isolating Palestinians from 
these lands, and now, burning any "evidence" of Palestinian ties to the 
land. In doing so—as the legacy of the Occupation supports— territorial 
expansion can continue to be legitimated through the manipulation of old 
Ottoman Law that stipulates land uncultivated for three years may be 
confiscated and declared "state land".

Destruction of land through its isolation began immediately after the first 
phase of the wall was completed in October 2003, whereby the isolated areas 
were declared a military zone. Hundreds of farmers have, subsequently, been 
unable to cross to their lands, or those who have been "lucky’ enough to 
obtain permission to do so have been subjected to humiliating procedures of 
control at the gate. In Jayyous and Falamya alone, 20,000 citrus trees 
dried out last year, as well as 60 dunams of greenhouses, because farmers 
were denied access. This policy continues now through the burning of Qaffin 
and Akkaba’s trees, to isolate and, ultimately, transform once fertile 
agricultural lands into deserts that leave no reason for farmers to cross 
to their land. As Rushdi Tumeh, one of the farmers watching his land 
burning behind the gate in Qaffin stated, "this is proof of Zionist plans 
to expel us from our lands", to burn us out of the history and future of 
Palestine. But this will remain an illusive Zionist dream, for despite the 
struggle and humiliation, the long term Zionist vision of the Wall will 
never succeed in severing us. The roots of the olive tree, like the will of 
Palestinian people, run deep into the landscape and continue to feed our 

*** www.stopthewall.org ***

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