Greenwashing the Occupation, 01-02-2012 Julie Holm MIFTAH
One of the things that have affected me greatly from all the horrors of the Israeli occupation is the uprooting of Palestinian olive trees. In Palestine, olive trees are valued for their historical presence, their beauty, symbolic connotations, and most importantly for their economic significance. Unfortunately it is not rare that we hear of Palestinian olive trees being uprooted or burned by the Israeli army or by settlers. Often, if the trees are not burned or destroyed by bulldozers they are brought to settlements and replanted as a kind of war token, a symbol of everything the Israelis rob from the Palestinians.
But it is not just the uprooting and stealing of trees that is used by Israel as a tool in the occupation. They actually plant trees on Palestinian land, covering up ethnic cleansing with environmental concerns. This is called ‘greenwashing’; using greenery to cover up evidence of violent displacement and destruction. After destroying villages, bulldozing agricultural land, uprooting olive trees and stealing land and vital water sources the State of Israel together with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) disguises the obliteration and claim the land by replanting it, under the pretense of environmentalism. It is not saving the environment that is the goal here, however; these actions have explicit colonial purposes. By banishing Palestinians from their land, Israel seizes the property held by Palestinians for thousands of years. Planting a forest of trees to cover up the destruction, the JNF turns one of the most life affirming symbols into a weapon of occupation and colonialism.
Greenwashing the occupation, Miftah 1-2-2012