More from OpenDemocracy.net

More from OpenDemocracy.net

Planting has become an intensely political act. Palestinians are continuously planting olive groves to secure ownership of land not built on; Israel does the same, but with faster-growing pine trees. These kinds of trees became undeclared symbols of the two national groups’ ownership claims. In both cases planting is replaced by construction when the time allows for it.

The choice of trees is interesting. Perhaps the Palestinians are so close to the bone that they cannot afford to plant something that bears no food, even in strategic circumstances, whereas the Israeli “bedroom colonies” have no such constraint. There must be some kind of squatter’s law in effect to make this necessary, whereby if the land is not serving some use it can be legally taken over by squatters after a time.