By Eli Asheknazi,
Over 150 Israelis and 150 Palestinians planted nearly 1,200 olive trees on Friday next to the West Bank village of Salam, near Nablus.
The ceremony took part under the slogan, “planting solidarity between Israeli and Palestinian farmers.” The trees were planted in an area where hundreds of trees had been uprooted or cut down in recent years, many of them by Israeli settlers living nearby.
The plantings were carried out by initiative of the kibbutz movement under the leadership of Yoel Marshak. According to organizers, “In honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat we want to send a message of solidarity between Israeli and Palestinian farmers, and to emphasize the importance of the rule of law.”
MK Michael Melchior (Labor) took part in the planting, as did members of the New Israel Fund and members of the Rabbis for Human Rights movement.
“There was no political or partisan nature to this initiative,” Marshak said. “Our message is that from farmer to farmer, wherever a man goes hungry, we will be there,” he added.
On Sunday, the kibbutz movement will launch a cooperative endeavor at the textile cooperative area in Mitzpe Ramon. Area youths performing national service will take part in the operation.