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Bateel Skycraper

 

Meeting the Heroes of Palestine

Issue 98 November 2012

In April 2002, the Israeli military forces entered the Jenin refugee camp and what ensued can only be described as a massacre. 

 

In April 2002, the Israeli military forces entered the Jenin refugee camp and what ensued can only be described as a massacre. Today, the city is no different to other Arab cities in the region; it is a haphazardly organised, lacking clear planning control or regulation, overcrowded maze of small of streets. The bulldozed buildings have been rebuilt, the bombed neighbourhoods have been repaired, but bulletholes and psychological scars still remain.

 

The main issue in Jenin that needed an immediate solution was its water shortage. Many of the water pumps were old, damaged or dysfunctional, and the local farmers were unable to grow vegetables all year round. Despite this, all around I could see olive trees blooming. They are the only trees that live for over a thousand years and require the least maintenance. I was taken to a school for disabled children, which was being run on the proceeds from its olive farm. The head teacher told us that he only needed three hundred trees to keep the school going. I joined the locals in planting a few, but they still needed many more. The easiest way to help support the Palestinian cause is to plant olive trees for them.

 

I later discovered that planting trees was also a way of liberating Palestinian land. If land is empty, the settlers move in quickly, but to clear it requires a lot of money and energy. If all land in Palestinian ownership was covered with olive trees, the settlers would be halted. It is also a great source of income generation for the families, and I made a mental promise to raise money for this initiative. 

 

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