As Israelis in the town of Netzer in Gush Etzion attempted to participate in a tree-planting event organized by Women in Green, a mob of Arab thugs and international anarchists rioted, attempting to physically prevent the tree-planting from taking place. After an extended face-off, with a major riot nearly breaking out, the Arabs and anarchists left the planting site.
The Friday morning event was well-publicized, and residents of Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Arba, and other nearby towns arrived to participate in the plantings. Among those participating was Rabbi Gideon Perl, Rabbi of the Gush Etzion district. Rabbi Perl discussed the significance of planting trees in the Land of Israel, and the right of the Jewish people to their homeland.
At one point, a large mob of Arabs and international anarchists arrived at the event, and “planted” themselves in the field where the planting was to take place. The event organizers asked the mob to leave, but they refused. A loud argument broke out between a number of people on both sides, and eventually an individual who identified himself as the mayor of the nearby Arab village of El-Khader said that the group was not leaving, because the land in question – plus a great deal more – belonged to families in his town.
The organizers of the event, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, responded that the land where the planting was to take place was not privately owned, but was state land. The alleged mayor demanded that Women in Green present a map stating this, with Matar and Katsover responding that they had no intention of debating the issue, adding that “the Tanach (Bible) is our map.”
A similar event occurred near the town of Elazar in Gush Etzion, where Arabs also attempted to interfere with tree-plantings. A large mob of Arabs and anarchists gathered outside the gates of Elazar, and attempted to invade the town. Security officials managed to keep them out, but the town was cut off for several hours as IDF soldiers attempted to break up the mob. Large traffic jams were reported in Gush Etzion, as rioting Arabs closed down the main highway running through the region.
Speaking after the event, Matar and Katsover said that “the riots by Arabs in Gush Etzion and the shameless encouragement of this behavior by the Palestinian Authority, such as the face-off with the individual who claimed to be the Mayor of El-Khader, are aimed at removing Gush Etzion from the 'consensus' in Israel, and to delegitimize the concept of the 'settlement blocs.' We must see these incidents as a warning bell for the entire Israeli nation.
“We do not have the luxury of worrying only about social and economic issues,” the two said, referring to the results of last week's Knesset elections, in which security issues were less emphasized. “The enemy is knocking on the gates of our towns. In response we must increase our commitment to all of the Land of Israel, and not just the 'settlement blocs.' Only thus will we ensure that the Arabs do not begin knocking on the 'gates' of Ramat Aviv,” which they also claim as theirs, the two added.