Israeli occupation forces razed cultivated land, 2 kilometers long and 80 meters wide, belonging to Abood in the West Bank, on 10 June. The razing operation destroyed 2,000 old and fruit-bearing high quality-olive trees, locally known as “Rumi”, in reference to the Roman Era. These olive trees are considered one of Palestine’s valued agricultural treasures
11 June 2001
Palestine Media Center – PMC
Israeli occupation forces razed cultivated land, 2 kilometers long and 80 meters wide, belonging to Abood in the West Bank, on 10 June. The razing operation destroyed 2,000 old and fruit-bearing high quality-olive trees, locally known as “Rumi”, in reference to the Roman Era. These olive trees are considered one of Palestine’s valued agricultural treasures.
Residents of the village, accompanied by their pastor, attempted to prevent the occupation army’s bulldozers from uprooting the precious trees. However, Israeli occupation soldiers held them at gunpoint away from the field and seized their identity cards.
The Head of the Village Council, Mr. Elias Azar, stated that the Israeli occupation forces have been continuously razing Abood’s cultivated land for three days. When he requested a written order from the occupation authorities, Israeli soldiers ordered him to obtain it from Beit Il, where the occupation authorities’ administration is headquartered.
Normally, all official orders of razing land or demolishing homes are delivered to the persons involved at least one week in advance. The lack of such an official written notice has convinced Abood’s residents that the occupation forces’ actions are not sanctioned. Further, Abood residents charged that the razing of their valued trees comes as an accommodation to the nearby Israeli settlers, who set up a new illegal Israeli settlement in area on 18 May and have been demanding that the village be reoccupied ever since then. Eyewitnesses had reported that Israeli settlers had accompanied the occupation forces in their latest razing campaign.
In response to the latest razing in Abood, the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate issued a strongly worded letter to the Israeli Minister of “Defense”, Benjamin Ben Eliezer. In it, Patriarch Sabbah, who was also present in Abood at the time of the razing, condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ razing of the Abood land and destruction of the olive trees. The Patriarch added, “The Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers raze land and cut down olive trees in Abood and other Palestinian villages. They ignore the fact that such actions do not serve the efforts to calm the area and respect the existing ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israelis but rather further ignite feelings and present new reasons for anger.” In his letter, Patriarch Sabbah called on Ben Eliezer to immediately halt “repressive measures that constitute collective punishment against the Palestinian People.” He also called on Israel to immediately lift its siege and tight closure of Palestinian towns and cities, stressing that the closure does not serve the efforts of reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli Peoples.