Rawabi drawing 311.
(photo credit:Public Domain)
The developer of Rawabi, a new Palestinian city being built in the West Bank, said he will remove some 3,000 trees donated by the Jewish National Fund and replace them with indigenous olive trees, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Tuesday.
Bashar al-Masri said that the city's identity is meant to be Palestinian and that Israeli elements are trying "to manipulate the issue," according to the report.
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Masri's move came in response to a scathing op-ed published by Ma'an a
day earlier by Jewish Israeli-born convert to Islam and member of Fatah,
Uri Davis. In the op-ed, he slammed the decision to accept the trees
from an organization whose mission "is the 'redemption' of lands in
'Eretz Israel,' including Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza and
beyond for Jewish settlement."
Davis further criticized the species chosen to be planted by the JNF.
Non-indigenous pine trees, he said "add insult to injury." "Rather than
plant indigenous" trees, he added, "the tree saplings planted by the JNF
in the area designated for the Rawabi projects are typically
political-Zionist pinera (conifers)."
Construction of the Palestinian city has also caused controversy in
Israel in recent months. In December, Army Radio ran a story that
Israeli companies working at Rawabi, which lies north of Ramallah, had
agreed not to use settlement products
A clause to this effect was included in the contract Israeli companies
signed with the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, which is
The clause reads, “the Seller is prohibited from using and/or employing
goods and/or services and/or resources manufactured and/or originating
from Israeli settlements towards achieving any of the objectives of this
Agreement, or in relation thereto.”
It includes east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in its definition of settlements.
In early January, 48 MKs signed a petition to boycott 20 companies who
were contracted to perform work in Rawabi and had signed the contract
agreeing not to use settlement products.
Among the politicians who signed the petition were over a dozen Kadima
MKs, including faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik. The MKs said in the
circulated document: "Israeli companies sold the soul of Zionism and
national solidarity for a handful of dollars."
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