Tree by Tree, Jewish Groups Fight for the Heartland
In recent months, several European-funded organizations have used increasingly bold tactics to ensure Arab domination of land in Judea and Samaria – so report Jewish groups active in the region. Now, the groups Keren Yavne, Women for Israel's Future (Women in Green), and Garin Netzer have decided to fight back with Operation Facts on the Ground.
The groups plan to use Palestinian Authority Arabs' tactics against them, by planting olive trees and grapevines in order to lay claim to disputed land.
PA Arabs have been assisted by international aid groups such as Oxfam and Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), Women for Israel's Future activists reported. In one case, JAI sponsored the planting of a tree immediately at the entrance to the Jewish village of Netzer in Samaria; the tree bore a label stating that it was funded by JAI as part of an effort to “rescue” 123 dunams of land.
The sign also bore the names of four Dutch organizations backing the JAI effort.
A fight is taking place “over every dunam of land,” activists said. “We could close our eyes to this, lose our land reserves for expanding Jewish towns, until one day we wake up and find that every piece of land - including what's right under our windows - is being cultivated by Arabs,” they added.
Operation Facts on the Ground will serve two purposes, they explained. Not only will it assist Jewish cities and villages in Judea and Samaria in reclaiming their land, or laying stake to land they own before Arab farmers claim it as their own, it will also be an educational experience for Jewish youth.
The planting operation is to be carried out in part by youth, who will be directed by professional farmers. For one week in July, the youth will take part in preparing land for agricultural use, planting, building, and participating in relevant lectures.
The goal, Operation Facts on the Ground planners say, is to cultivate 20 new dunams of land in the month of Av, another 20 in Kislev, and 20 in Nissan.
Organizers are seeking volunteers to help the project along. “Not everyone can go out and work the land”, they said. “but if 20 people each donate 500 shekels, together they will reclaim one dunam of land, on which will grow 36 olive trees or 220 grapevines.” More on the Women in Green website.
'Jewish' vines planted in Tu B'Shvat are doing well / Facts on the Ground
'Anarchist tree' / Facts on the Ground