Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Olive Tree Wars, Olive Tree Redemption

This summer more than 50 young people will have the opportunity to participate in a working agricultural camp aimed at redeeming Jewish land in Gush Etzion. The camp will focus on farming on the Netzer Hill, and result hopefully in saving the land reserves between Alon Shvut and Elazar.
Right now Arabs, aided by international anarchists and NGO "humanitarian aid organizations for Palestinians" are working land in Central Gush Etzion without any interference. Currently Jewish Gush Etzion is only 4% of the entire region. The Arabs and anarchists are pushing with determination to increase what is already their 96% portion of the area.
This summer's teen camp, sponsored by the Yibaneh Fund of Women for Israel's Tomorrow, hopes to save the last 60 dunams of Jewish land in Netzer! Widespread support is needed to make this possible.
You know, we sit in our beautiful homes on the hills of Gush Etzion, and we look out our windows to see the other Jewish communities and green rolling hills. We don't usually think about the fact that Arabs are planting right near us in fields that don't belong to them in order to cut off our communities from one another. This is something that should bring us much concern and something that should push us to act for the sake of our land.
False "Humanitarians"
The pro-Arab "humanitarian" anarchists on the Marvi Marmara ship in last month's floatilla clearly taught the people of Israel the dangers of international anarchists. Voices had written about them long ago when we first encountered anarchists in the once-abandoned IDF Army base in Shdema. The anarchists' destruction and agitation is also witnessed almost daily in Hebron, all along Route 60 and now on Gush Etzion's hilltop of Netzer.
In Netzer, the mark of the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) is on hundreds of olive trees planted on Israeli State Land and Admot Seker (land whose ownership has not been determined). The JAI is an initiative between the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine, launched in 2000. JAI says it engages "YWCA/YMCA, Church members, and other constituents in resistance by sponsoring olive trees and participating in other OTC activities."
The JAI is financed by donors in the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, UK, Switzerland, USA, Ireland, and many others. Thus far, more than 50,000 Arab trees have been planted in Judea and Samaria as an action against Israel's "unjust Israeli military practices."
A new sign at the entrance to Netzer boasts that the Netherlands is "reclaiming 123 dunams of land". The sign notes that the Land Research Center (LRC), Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) are working the land in Central Gush Etzion. Thus far they have not been stopped by the Civil Administration. The Palestinian Authority and the European Union view the Arab reclamation of land in Judea and Samaria as a top priority.
While the Arabs seem to have an unlimited budget for their Olive Tree war, the Jewish people have yet realized the need to invest in redeeming the land. B"H, Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green) began saving Central Gush Etzion land a few months ago by planting Jewish trees on the Netzer Hill. Yibaneh Fund co-founder Nadia Matar explained that while volunteers have already "redeemed a few dunams of land, we have to increase our pace. And we have to continue in other locations in Judea and Samaria."
Nadia warned, "The Arabs are making a concerted effort to expand on to our land reserves. They are doing their best to choke us. If we don't save these lands, the Arabs will work the land up to our window sills if we let them."
"The Arabs understand that if they take all the hills around the yishuvim (Jewish towns), then this will mean the end of the settlements and the end of Judea and Samaria, G-d forbid. We are trying to save the lands and preserve the Jewish continuity between communities."
Camp Yibaneh
Over the past few months, a Galil farmer Uri Palsy (at left) has come to Gush Etzion once a week to work in Jewish Netzer groves. Uri will supervise the teenage agricultural work camp for the entire week of Sunday, July 11 to Friday, July 16.
The dozens of teens in camp will work the land, remove stones, plant, weed, build terraces, and then end each day with an inspirational guest lecture by a famous lover of Eretz Yisrael. This camp will reconnect our youth to the Land, take them away from their computers and twitter and electronics and bring them on to the hills of Gush Etzion.
Not everyone is young enough or strong enough to work in the fields of Eretz Yisrael, but everyone can participate in redeeming Jewish land by donating to the Yibaneh Fund. Every 20 people who contribute 500 nis ($150) each will enable Yibaneh to redeem one dunam of land (the price includes tractor work, tools, tubing, manpower, seedlings, maintenance, water for a year).
Camp Yibaneh's goal is to redeem 20 dunams of land this summer and then another 40 by Chanukah. If Yibaneh cannot accomplish this, then the anarchists are likely to use their international funds and connections to grab this land in Central Gush Etzion.
When the 60 dunams are successfully planted, IY"H, Yibaneh hopes to move its activities to other Jewish land in danger.
Contributions may be sent to Women for Israel's Tomorrow- Yibaneh Fund, POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072 or POB 1269, Efrat 90435.
To view a Voices video on GushTV, visit .

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