Daily Israel Report

IDF Supervises Replanting Olive Trees at Separation Barrier

IDF carries out court order to replant olive trees, after relocation of the security fence at Bilin. Arabs then tried to overstep planting limits.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/24/2010, 3:40 PM / Last Update: 2/24/2010, 5:05 PM

Israel news photo

The IDF has coordinated with Arabs for the planting of approximately 200 olive trees, as ordered by the High Court, following the re-location of the security barrier near Bilin, not far from Ben Gurion International Airport. The new route of the fence gives Arabs 40 percent of the land that had originally been expropriated.

The planting work was carried our by a civilian company on behalf of the Defense Ministry, according to the IDF Spokesman's office. Workers replanted the trees on the eastern, Arab-controlled side of the fence after removing them from the western side. Construction on the new route began two weeks ago.

The High Court ruled two and a half years ago that the fence's route must be changed, in order to leave nearly 175 acres adjacent to the town of Bilin. Arabs and anarchists, however, have continued weekly and violent demonstrations there, arguing against the very existence of the fence.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported that “international activists” worked with Arabs on Monday to plant almond and olive trees. It also claimed that a soldier fired a warning shot in the air after activists tried to plant immediately adjacent to the fence, which is kept clear on both sides to allow trackers to spot terrorists.

The ISM said it has organized the weekly protests, which have resulted in hundreds of injuries to soldiers and Arabs. Its website called the protests “non-violent.”