Environmental “Ecocide”: The undeclared Israeli War against the Palestinian Trees

Environmental “Ecocide”: The undeclared Israeli War against the Palestinian Trees

After people, trees and all kinds of plantations are considered the worst of enemies to any occupation, in our case the Israelis regards the trees as the invincible enemy which they led against the worst of their fights to conquer the land. After the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip back in 1967, Israel initiated its illegal settlement program in the occupied territory, it also established scores of military bases, constructed hundreds of Km of roads to facilitate the Israeli Army’s and their settlers’ movement through out the occupied territory, all of which has taken place on Palestinian agricultural lands, on the expanse of the trees that represent the unbreakable tie between the Palestinian indigenous inhabitant and the land which is a main source to their livelihood and a bona- fide proof of their indisputable rights to the land. Israel has realized early in its occupation of the land, that in order for them to consolidate their control over the people and the land, they must cut off the bond of the Palestinians with their land and for them to do so, Israel unleashed the Army’s might and settlers militias to do the job. From that time on, Israel had made it a target for them to destroy the Palestinian agriculture by any means necessary, and so, Israel regulated dozens of laws and pretexts to manipulate the methods to control the land and build settlements, roads, military basses and now the Segregation Wall, naturally, the most fertile and cultivated Palestinian land with trees was and still is their favorite choice to drive the Palestinians from their lands.     


The Israeli Army systematic attack on Palestinian trees has started early with the Israeli occupation back in 1967 and resulted in the uprooting of more than 1000,000 trees until 1999. However, and with the beginning of the current Intifada in the year 2000, Israel has intensified its belligerent attack on the Palestinian agriculture and trees in particular for many reason, the most proclaimed of which is “for security purposes”, that is to say; to establish more military bases, security buffer zones to settlements and bypass roads, but the real turn started with the Segregation Wall in the year 2002 when Israel started the organized crush of the agricultural lands and started uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees to set the route for the Segregation Wall. See Photo 1



The Israeli anti-environment policy against the Palestinian agriculture falls no further than encoded “Ecocide” policy of “State Vandalism”, which is an organized, predetermined eradication of trees, as more than 1.4 million trees were uprooted from the occupied territory since the beginning of the Second Intifada in the year 2000 until the end of 2006, which practically violates every article and clause of the International Humanitarian Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. The following table shows the numbers of trees uprooted in the West Bank’s and Gaza’s districts by the Israeli Army and settlers in the period between September 2000 and the end of December 2006.


Number of treesuprooted from Palestinians’ lands by the Israeli Army and settlersthroughout the West Bank’s & the Gaza Strip’s Districts in the periodbetween September 2000 – December 31, 2006




WBDistricts UprootedTrees Gaza Districts Uprooted trees
Jenin 14,707 Northern Gaza 602,208
Tubas 1,228 Gaza 186,737
Tulkarem 14,934 Deir Al-Balah 124,723
Nablus 53,746 Khan Yunis 132,656
Qalqiliya 16,237 Rafah 74,446
Salfit 17,926


Ramallah 14,082
Jericho 25,537
Jerusalem 3,558
Bethlehem 66,521
Hebron 56,412
Total 284,888 Total 1,120,770
WB & GazaGrand Total 1,405,658

Trees include: Olive, Citrus, Stone Fruit, Forestry, Date Palm, Banana, Grape, others.




Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Environment