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War on nature: How Zionist colonialism has destroyed the environment in Palestine

35 47 1732
11.02.2019

The latest casualties in the war on the environment in Palestine were 450 olive trees destroyed last week by Israeli army bulldozers. The destruction of the Palestinian-owned trees took place in the villages of Bardala, in the Jordan Valley, and Yatta in the southern West Bank. Dozens more were also destroyed by illegal Jewish settlers.

It is a myth that only Zionist Israel “made the desert bloom.” On the contrary, since its establishment on the ruins of more than five hundred Palestinian villages and cities that it has destroyed and wiped off the map, Israel has done the exact opposite. The land inhabited by Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews for thousands of years has been disfigured beyond belief by Israel in the matter of a few decades.

“Palestine contains vast colonisation potential which the Arabs neither need nor are qualified to exploit,” wrote one of Israel’s founding fathers and first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, to his son Amos in 1937.

Zionist Israel, however, has done more than just “exploit” that “colonisation potential”; it has also subjected historic Palestine to a relentless and cruel campaign of destruction that is yet to cease. This is likely to continue as long as Zionism prevails as a racist, hegemonic and exploitative ideology.

Since its very early days, in the mid and late 19th century, political Zionism has misled its followers in its depiction of historic Palestine. To encourage Jewish migration to Palestine and by way of providing a semblance of moral justification for Jewish settlements, Zionism constructed myths which remain a central theme to this day. According to early Zionists, for example, Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land”. It was also said to be an arid desert, awaiting Jewish colonialists from Europe and elsewhere with the urgent mission to “make it bloom”.

What the Zionists have done to Palestine, though, is rather inconsistent with their intellectual discourse, as racist, colonialist and exclusivist as it always has been. The land of Palestine, around 10,425 square miles from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean Sea, became the subject of a cruel experiment, starting with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the destruction of their villages, land and crops in 1948. This exploitation of the land and its people has grown with intense fervour through subsequent generations.

Uprooting trees, burning orchards

Illegal Jewish settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank are built on confiscated Palestinian agricultural and grazing land. The immediate impact of such action was the uprooting of millions of olive and fruit-bearing trees, and the consequent soil erosion in many parts of Occupied........

© Middle East Monitor