Every year in Israel we get a rash of news reports about Jews (or more likely “settlers”) cutting down “Palestinian” olive trees. The reports usually hint that thousands of trees were destroyed in a few minutes, usually over night and without anyone capturing this act on a cell phone video, of course. Because when it’s soldiers and little girls there are thousands of cameras; when it’s mythical acts of Jewish vandalism there are none.
As I was walking through Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv on Friday morning I came across two park employees cutting off a very small dead stump from a healthy young tree. Here’s the video.
It takes these two almost a minute to cut off a very small dead stump. They then clean off the shoots around the base leaving the healthy tree. That’s how you care for olive trees. Also notice how much work it is with a large chainsaw to cut even the smallest limb from an olive tree. Olive tree wood is very hard: cutting down mature olive trees is an extremely difficult task. This stump was around 20cm in diameter. Mature trees can be more than a meter across!
No matter what we do, someone will accuse us of destroying olive trees: even well cared for trees will be used as teary photo opportunities like the one shown here.
And even knowing all this, whenever these reports come out the other side can rely on idiots (and convicted criminals) on our side to give these stories weight and further publicity. Here’s convicted fraudster, Ehud Olmert in 2006:
Olmert’s first statement was, “I condemn the phenomenon of cutting down olive trees, and I call upon the Attorney General to take action against the wild people responsible for this.”
Press reports widely assumed that the olive tree vandals are Jewish residents of Shomron communities – even though in the past this supposition has been all but negated. In addition, no Jews have ever been caught and/or accused of this crime.
On the contrary, there is evidence that left-wing activists are behind the accusations, even though Arabs themselves may have pruned the trees.
If nothing else, that short video shows how hard it is to cut olive trees. Anytime someone tells you Jews cut down thousands of trees in a night, ask them exactly how and why nobody managed to take a video or photograph of it happening. Because believe me, it makes a hell of a lot of noise.