UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Tuesday, October 22 2013:
**The polls are open. Israelis are now casting their ballots at more than 8000 voting places around the country, including one at the elementary school in your humble servant’s neighborhood at which he will vote in a few hours. As reported yesterday, a number of interesting and important races will be decided today. Tomorrow’s blog will carry the results.
**Now we have the ridiculous situation of United States shilling for the PLO. Last night, John Kerry made the absurd announcement that he had convinced Khaled Al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar, to pony up the $150 million dollars that Qatar had promised the PLO but had reneged on.
**The U.S. Congress (read the House of Representatives) has canceled the UAV drone deal between the U.S. and Turkey. This follows the revelations that not only did Turkey turn over the names of Israeli Mossad agents to Iran three years ago but also “sensitive American and Israeli information” to Iran. Not surprisingly, this cancellation did not emanate from the Obama White House.
This morning, your humble servant is revisiting a topic that he addressed just over a year ago in a blog entitled “The Great Olive Tree Hoax“. In that blog, I described how Palestinians, supposedly the poor, oppressed indigenous people of “Palestine”, regularly set fire to their own olive groves and chop down the olive groves of Israeli communities with the help of international “activists”. All of this has been documented in numerous videos taken by Israeli community members.
This past week has seen the usual fraudulent parade of Palestinian allegations concerning their precious olive trees.
Here is a news release from WAFA, the Palestinian News and Information Agency (emphasis mine):
“NABLUS, October 19, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Saturday cut down more than 100 olive trees in the Nablus area village of Qaryout, according to Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlers activities in the northern parts of the West Bank. He told WAFA that settlers cut down olive trees in more than location of village land using a chainsaw because some trees were cut from the trunk. Farmers said they were shocked by the sight of the destroyed olive trees, many of them the farmers have been nourishing for years. The attack on the olive trees comes in the peak of the olive harvest season, which is the most important time for families throughout the West Bank who make their annual living from the olive harvest.”
Once again all of the elements of the Palestinian myth are here: the agrarian, indigenous, pastoral, Palestinian farmers who have been nourishing their olive trees since time immemorial, fighting against the technologically superior, chain-sawing “settlers”. It’s almost like a scene from the movie Avatar.
Last month, while I was visiting Hurvat Anim in Samaria, the thoughts of how olive trees are such a part of Jewish history could not help but come to mind. As we walked through the forest there, we passed tens of olive presses—all of which are at least 1500 years old.
And even these olive presses are relatively new.
This week in Israel’s Galilee region, various towns are hosting a festival called “The Days of the Olive Branch”. The festival is all about olives: how to grow them, how to process them, and even how to pickle them.
The center of the festival is the town of Deir Hanna–a place rich in Jewish history that dates back to the second century CE when it was known as Kfar Yohanna. At that time it was the seat of the Yakhin Cohens–the 21st of the 24 Priestly Courses.
Deir Hanna happens to be home to the oldest olive trees in Israel–that date back to the time of King David some 3000 years ago. There are seven ancient trees–the oldest has a circumference of 8.7 meters and still produces 20 kg of oil per year (see picture above).
So the next time you think about indigenous farmers tending their olive groves, you might want to think about the Jews–who were tending their olive trees more than 1100 years before Hadrian invented the word “Palestine” and more than 1600 years before Islam ever existed.