Olive trees burned in “Price-tag Policy”

The "price-tag policy," a vow by hard-line Israeli settlers to inflict a "price" every time one West Bank outpost is dismantled, seems to be effective against both the West Bank Palestinians and the Israeli government. Never mind that the settlements are illegal, never mind that even if they were legal, the settlements have far outpaced population increase and natural settlement.

It’s a win-win for the settlers. They get their revenge looked after while preparing to  appropriate more Palestinian land, and, they make settlersburntreesNetanyahu’s government think twice about taking down more outposts. And in this little twist, the Israeli government can convince itself of its benevolence towards Palestinian farmers by easing up on any further dismantling.

(Left: June, 2009 AFP photo of illegal setters burning Palestinian fields.)

Yesterday the "price-tag" came in the form of 30 or so Israeli settlers on horseback, taking to Palestinian olive grooves with torches and burning down an estimated 1500 trees and injuring a few Palestinian’s in the process.

Farmers themselves, the settlers know the cost of their actions. Olive trees take a decade or more to establish themselves and produce fruit. Destroying Palestinian farmer’s olive trees is like cutting off the hands of a cabinet maker and leaving him to ponder his fateā€”his state.

But for the settlers, any discomfort with conscience is quickly rationalized by a perceived 2000-plus year old entitlement to the West Bank. Religious Zionists have been at the forefront of the settlement movement and they see their presence there as fulfilling a biblical mandate preparing and quickening the coming of the Messiah. They believe it’s their self-appointed role to resettle the Land of Israel, ushering in a theocratic Jewish state, where in ancient times, Jewish kingdoms existed. So it is that many Zionist settlements are founded around biblical sites, supposedly justifying their presence and giving them a sense of connection with their biblical roots.

So Palestinian roots, and Palestinian rights can be torn up, and quite literally, burned. And in the meantime the settlements continue under Binyamin Netanyahu’s watch despite an Israeli freeze, and despite pressure from Obama and Brown.


  1. Strange how the bible becomes a justification for evil – the very opposite of what Christ was trying to get across.

  2. Yes, I guess I forgot that reality for them. At the same time when I commented I was thinking more of the North American Christians who feel this compelling command to honor/support the Jews in this evilness because the Jews are the chosen people. Doesn’t this seem somewhat schizophrenic in light of Christians believing in the coming of Christ even if the Jews don’t? As I’ve listened to some Christians try to explain it I’ve come to realize they are still caught in some sort of strange thinking that makes them support evil in order to hasten the coming of Christ. Again, me thinks I notice a psychotic disorder of some kind….

    Why don’t we just do as Christ taught and make sure we are living in a Christ-honoring way? Is it a desire for escaping this reality that makes us feel we need to “hasten” Christ’s coming? I’m still trying to work through this…

  3. Truly tragic
    – there are 1500 year-old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsamen
    – puzzling about how Messaiah’s / Christ’s coming might be “hastened” through these injustices!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. News from Gaza and the West Bank is generally so disheartening that it is easy to want to ignore it, but we need to keep spreading the word.

    On an optimistic note I have been following the news about a U.S. aid convoy that was finally able to get through the Rafah border crossing! It was delayed for a while by the Egyptian government, but there was enough publicity and pressure to get it through.

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