The Olive Tree brings peace to the West Bank
The ancient Jewish festival, Tu B’Shevat, is the new year of trees. Considered a minor festival in the past, its spiritual power is growing, according to the Shalom Center, “honouring the Jewish connection to the land and reinforcing the message that it is incumbent on Jews to be responsible stewards of the Earth, which ultimately belongs to God.” Planting trees is becoming a sacred act again.
The Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) writes: “We are keenly aware that trees are also sacred to the Palestinian people, and entire communities depend on Olive Trees in particular for their livelihood. In the current intifada, thousands of Palestinian Olive Trees have been destroyed … Only by preventing the destruction of these trees, and protecting the right of Palestinian farmers to gather their olives, can we fully celebrate this holiday.”
Indeed, according to Israel Defence Minister Binyamin BEn-Eliezer, Israel has uprooted about 1,375 acres of Palestinian orchards, and has destroyed about 1,125 acres of field crops.
Every year at harvest time (Oct./Nov.), members of the RHR and other Israeli peace groups help in the Palestinian olive harvest, and also protect the farmers and trees from physical violence.
Since the days of Noah the Olive has been a symbol of peace and prosperity. RHR condemns all illegal acts against the Olive trees as being in clear violation of the Torah’s injunction not to destroy trees, even during times of war.
More about the Olive tree in Israel and Palestine at Rabbis for Human Rights
source: TreeNews Autumn/Winter 2004