Monday, March 15, 2010

An accompanier in Bethlehem reports: What Olive Trees?...

What Olive Trees?...

A new report posted by an Ecumenical Accompanier in Bethlehem is available at the World Council of Churches website:

BETHLEHEM: Israeli Military bull-dozers recently rolled into Beit Jala and flattened anything and everything in their path. One would have to have been blind not to see the destruction the bull-dozers were causing as they uprooted one olive tree after another. Home owners were trying to replant some of the trees and cut up others to salvage what wood they could, but the bull-dozers marched onward. We had been notified by our local contacts that a demonstration would take place the following day in support of the people who were losing trees and land in this operation. The first family, whose house we stopped at, had lost part of its land the previous day, swing sets and other garden furniture had been salvaged and moved closer to the house. When we arrived the owner showed us what was left of an olive tree which had been uprooted for the sake of the separation wall.

We walked back to the other side of the highway where the bull-dozers were moving very fast up a hill taking down tree after tree. Demonstrators scrambled down the hill to meet the heavy equipment. Two young men sat down and had to be forcibly removed by the army. Another group of protesters sat under an olive tree until the army pressured them to move up the hill. It was sad to watch the local residents, the owners of the trees, watching the army take down what they had spent years building up. All we could do was be there, witness, photograph, and tell their stories.

We later heard that that the Israeli court ruled that the route of the Wall in this area as illegal and ordered the destruction to come to a halt! But who knows for how long?

Another report from Bethlehem, "Some millimeters from death,' is at this link:

For more about the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, see the US website:

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