1 August 2010 | ISM Media
Residents of the village of Aqraba, near Nablus, planted forty young olive trees on their land on Thursday (29 July 2010) to send a message to settlers who have been plowing the area in an attempted land-grab.
The Palestinian villagers were accompanied by many international volunteers – around thirty people from an American group called the Holy Land Trust and about eight ISM activists.
The group gathered at ten in the morning and the forty olive trees were planted by soon after midday.
Three Israeli army jeeps drove down to observe what the large group of people were doing. They then entered the village for some time.
Aqraba is surrounded on all sides by illegal Israeli settlements, including Jaffa An Nun, Yanun, Migdalim and Itamar. To the east it is bordered by the illegal Israeli settlement of Gittit and an area which Israel designates a ‘closed military zone’.
In recent weeks settlers from Itamar had begun plowing the land belonging to Palestinians, prompting fears that they were trying to steal the land for their on use.
The olive tree planting is intended to ward off settlers and assert the Palestinian ownership of the land. The action came a few days after hundreds of olive trees belonging to the nearby village of Burin were destroyed after being set fire to by rioting settlers, in a so-called ‘price-tag’ attack following the demolition of newly constructed illegal settlement buildings.