“. . . [Palestinian] landscape as a place of ‘drifting sand and exposed rock’ populated by the morally, spiritually and politically degenerate . . .” (Joanna C. Long)

Ruins of village of Lifta, Jerusalem, with Israeli-planted trees engulfing it. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov., 2015)

❶ . B’Tselem: ‘Dispossession of Palestinians most consistent trend in Israeli policy’
. . . ― (a) Lieberman: Postpone controversial ‘formalization’ bill until Trump takes over
❷ . Fatah’s seventh congress says people have right to resist occupation
. . . ❷ ― (a) Abbas tells Fatah the greater struggle is to come

  • Background: “Rooting Diaspora, Reviving Nation: Zionist Landscapes Of Palestine–Israel.” Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers

❸ . The IDF’s new ‘Visit Palestine’ campaign refuses to say Palestine
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 5, 2016
As Israel’s Knesset considers a bill which would retroactively legalize settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities have used both official and unofficial means to expropriate Palestinian lands for decades which has “devastasted” the Palestinian territory, according to a report published on Monday by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
___In its latest report, entitled “Expel and Exploit: The Israeli practice of taking over rural Palestinian land,”  B’Tselem used a case study of Azmut, Deir al-Hatab, and Salem — three Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank district of Nablus — to illustrate a number of official and indirect ways used by the Israeli government over the years to slowly isolate Palestinian communities from their lands.       More . . .  
Ma’an News Agency 
Dec. 3, 2016
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested on Friday that the controversial “formalization bill,” which would legalize Israeli settler outposts throughout the occupied West Bank and is set to be voted on this Monday, should be postponed until US President Barack Obama leaves office.
___According to Israeli media, the statement was made in Washington D.C. during the Saban Forum where the right-wing defense minister called for postponing the vote until Jan. 20, when President-Elect Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the new American president.      More . . .

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
December 5, 2016
The concluding statement of Fatah’s seventh congress said the Palestinian people have the right to popular resistance to end the Israeli occupation of their land and determine their future.
___The statement, read at the conclusion of six days of Fatah congress held at the Muqata, the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, also underscored the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to sovereignty, and to having an independent state of their own with East Jerusalem as its capital.       More . . .  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 5, 2016
President Mahmoud Abbas told members of the seventh Fatah congress on Sunday night that the greater struggle is still ahead of them.
___“When you go back to your towns, villages and camps tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, remember at every moment that what you have accomplished in this conference is the lesser struggle and now we have a mission ahead of us and that is to fight the greater struggle,” Abbas told the members at the closing session of the Fatah congress.        More . . .    

  • Long, Joanna C. “Rooting Diaspora, Reviving Nation: Zionist Landscapes Of Palestine–Israel.” Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers 34.1 (2009): 61-77.   SOURCE.

In this paper I explore some possibilities of what the trees were for and why they were (and are) so important to the Jewish National Fund. My main concern is with the entanglement of cultures of landscape with a cultural politics of trees and how these have been enrolled in a project of colonisation and nationbuilding . . .  Specifically, I examine how trees have figured in various constructions of Palestine as an aesthetic and embodied landscape, and how both trees and landscapes have been mobilised in pursuit of an Israeli national space and subjectivity.
[. . . .]  In JNF discourse, however, these notions of subjects embedded in the natural environment, and of subjectivities springing from contact with the natural environment, are inseparable from both scenic renderings of the Palestinian homeland-scape as historically verdant and heroically re-forested by Zionist settlers, and pathologised imaginaries of the diasporic landscape as a place of ‘drifting sand and exposed rock’ populated by the morally, spiritually and politically degenerate . . . [the] implications of casting a landscape as political territory in this way are intimately bound up with the planting of trees, as this drew ‘unproductive’ lands under the control of the state . . . enabled the exercise of territorialised sovereignty, in accordance with long-established European traditions of articulating monarchical and colonial power.
[. . . .] There is, of course, nothing natural about the process of Zionist colonisation or the resulting forested landscape. . . these landscape imaginaries and the trees populating them have been mobilised . . . to perform important geopolitical and ideological work towards the establishment and perpetuation of Israeli nationhood. By positing Palestine as a formerly verdant landscape, currently denuded and empty but being rejuvenated and redeemed by Zionist settlers . . . [the myths] now physically exclude Palestinians from the landscape and efface the history of their presence.
[. . . .] The political geographies of Eretz Israel . . .  helped to generate ideological and financial support . . .  for the acquisition and later the seizure of lands, for the ‘development’ of those purchased and captured lands to legally secure Jewish ownership and to prevent Palestinians from returning.
[. . . .] I have deliberately focused on the planting of pines, rather than on the Israeli practice of uprooting Palestinian olive trees . . .   .   [Trees] are also the guardians to another story, this time of expulsion and dispossession, which is inextricably bound to the first.

+972 Magazine
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Dec. 4, 2016
The Israeli army’s new tourism campaign wants you to visit Palestine — just don’t call it that.    ___The Israeli military launched a truly bizarre rendition of a Visit Palestine tourism campaign over the weekend. Except the army couldn’t bring itself to say Palestine, the West Bank, or even mention that Palestinians live there.     ___The video was published on the Facebook page of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military government that oversees the occupation of the Palestinian territories.      ___ The video mentions sites like Wadi Qelt, the Mar Saba Monastery and Nabi Musa, sites in the West Bank to which Israel makes no claims. Likewise, while the army’s new tourism initiative advertises the Church of the Nativity as a site in “Judea and Samaria,” the biblical name for the West Bank, there is no mention of Rachel’s Tomb, also in Bethlehem but which Israel claims as its own.     More . . .  

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