29 October 2009
On Thursday, 29 October, a group of international activists accompanied Palestinian farmers and villagers from Burin to the planting of approximately 50 olive trees as a part of the ‘10,000 Trees for Nablus’ campaign to replace some of the trees destroyed by settlers during the harvest.
Although the Nablus region saw fierce rains on the morning of the tree planting, there was a strong turn up when the action began at noon. Around 60 pupils from the Burin Girls School joined the march to the fields, followed by many more Palestinians of all ages. The demonstration was also attended by 30 members of the French solidarity organisation CCIPPP (Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien). In total, the tree planting was attended by between 150 and 200 people.
Although the trees were planted close to the city of Burin, and not in the threatened lands near the illegal settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha, the planting was an important act of resilience and a testament to the Palestinian steadfastness in their demand to be allowed to work their fields. It is hoped that this will be only the first of a series of tree plantings around Palestine, including in the threatened lands found around almost every illegal settlement in the West Bank.
These acts are vital due to the constant harassment by settlers. In Burin alone, this season has seen farmers and activists threatened by armed settlers on the 16 October, an arson attack against a building under construction on the 13 September and the cutting down of some 150 olive trees by masked settlers with chainsaws on the 28 September. When farmers attempted to protest this criminal act on the following day, they were forced off their land by the Israeli military.