Israel´s Civil Administration orders Palestinians to uproot 1,000 young olive trees in nature reserve (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Zafrir Rinat 05/01/12)
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Israel´s Civil Administration in the West Bank has ordered
Palestinian villagers to uproot more than 1,000 olive trees because
they were planted in a nature reserve.
Residents of Deir Istiya said they would fight the order in court,
arguing that it violates their right to work privately owned land
within the Nahal Kana reserve.
"The Civil Administration says we must preserve the status quo, but
we don´t accept that," said Deir Istiya Mayor Nazmi Salman. "We think
the owners of private land have the right to work it and earn a
living. In our view, this is part of an attempt to strengthen Israeli
control of the site. There´s a double standard here, because on one
hand, settlements were established in the area and are expanding;
they even built a road through the reserve to one of the settlements.
In contrast, we aren´t allowed to work the land."
Nahal Kana is one of the most important nature reserves in the
northern West Bank, containing numerous springs and a rich variety of
flora and fauna. But it also includes plots of privately owned land
that Palestinian farmers have worked since before the area was
declared a reserve.
This is the second time this year that Deir Istiya residents have
been told that their trees are not welcome.
About six months ago, the Civil Administration uprooted hundreds of
trees planted in the reserve. Deir Istiya residents discovered the
latest order when they went to tend their trees last week.
Officials from the Civil Administration and the Israel Nature and
Parks Authority say that in recent years, the Palestinians have tried
to expand the cultivated area, including by digging a canal to which
they diverted the spring water. This has caused serious damage to the
reserve, they said.
The trees in question are all between 2 and 5 years old, according to
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories did not
respond to questions about the latest injunction. When the earlier
order was issued, it said the goal was to preserve the status quo in
the nature reserve. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/01/12)
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