February 2,2010 | UrukNet
Planting trees against occupation, settlement expansion and land expropriation – this is the symbolic action carried out by popular committees of resistance who joined a tree-planting action in Aboud, North-West of Ramallah, last Sunday.
Local villagers, students from the Birzeit University and some international peace activists gathered on the hilltops facing the village of Aboud and planted 300 trees: an effort to reclaim land confiscated by the ongoing expansion of the settlements and the wall, whose construction has turned one third of the village’s land into a buffer zone.
“The village community has protested several times against Israel’s Apartheid Wall,” said Elias Azar, president of the village council since 1994, “Our villagers have paid and are still paying a high price for the construction of the settlements. We are deprived of the right to enter our own properties, we want to show our lives are rooted in our lands.” Israeli settlement Beit Arye, which was established in 1980, occupied almost 800 dunums of land from Aboud, and nearly the same number of dunums were confiscated for the construction of Ofarim settlement in 1982.
Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, who joined the tree-planting event, said, “Aboud is entirely surrounded by settlements whose establishment has confiscated 5.000 dunums of its residents’ lands. Furthermore, the ongoing construction of the Apartheid Wall is expanding into the village, intending to place the two settlements on the Israeli side of a unilaterally imposed new border and isolating the community from their properties. We decided to plant trees in order to block settlements expansion. It is an act of civil disobedience to revive the spirit of popular nonviolent resistance and the spirit of unity. We believe in a strategy, combining nonviolent resistance and sanctions against the Israeli Government imposed by the international community”.