Planting near Nokdim
Planting near NokdimCourtesy

The residents of Gush Etzion were shocked to discover last week that an olive grove planted near Nokdim was destroyed, dozens of trees were stolen or deliberately broken, and the land was ruined.

The grove was planted in collaboration with the council and the residents of the area settlements on state land approved in a valid agricultural agreement with the settlement division.

Residents report that twice Arabs from the village of Za'atara came and destroyed the place, once uprooting and breaking the trees as mentioned and the second time destroying the land that was prepared for planting. On Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day), dozens of residents of the area replanted the grove with the songs Ani Ma'amin and Hatikva.

Gush Etzion governor Yaron Rosenthal said: "We were shocked to discover that Arabs from Za'atara and its surroundings came to our land and uprooted dozens of olive trees planted on state land. While they will continue to uproot and destroy, we will continue to build and plant."

He added that, "Close to Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), we vow to the fallen to continue the path of our martyrs and to fulfill the words of Shalom Karniel: 'While the bloodstreams of our tormented brothers are being spilled like water and the world wallows in their blood, we have come here wounded to build and plant and put down deep roots in the mountains of Judea, for in these plantings opens a new door to our redemption and to the redemption of our souls. We were rootless in exile, and rootlessness was the dreadful disease of our people in the diaspora. We are in need of rootedness, a firm grip on the homeland soil, this is the work we do in this place.'"