According to the Christian website St Basil’s the olive tree “is a symbol of peace, prosperity, health, wellness, abundance and food.” And Israel Olive Bond concurs, observing that it “has been an important component of Jewish and Israeli culture throughout history” being “mentioned frequently in the Bible in the context of blessings, fruitfulness, and health” and “eventually became linked to the concept of putting down roots in the land.”
Which is no doubt why Israelis continue destroying Palestinian olive trees.
According to independent monitors some 4,000 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed by Israeli settlers and soldiers in the period January-July 2020 and in August an Israeli military officer, Colonel Eitan Abrahams, was reported as saying that the destruction was justified “for the safety of settlers,” because the trees protect Palestinian gunmen or stone-throwers.
The Western media rarely mention anything like this about Israel/Palestine, because it is now generally accepted in America and Europe that any report or comment that might place Israel in a poor light is to be avoided. The influence wielded by pro-Israel organisations and lobbyists in the essentially pro-Israel UK Parliament and the equally supportive U.S. Congress is such that there can be no time allotted to impartial discussion or democratic debate on such matters as destruction of olive trees by illegal Israeli colonisers on Palestinian land.
It is notable that the current British Minister for Home Affairs, Priti Patel, was sacked by former prime minister Theresa May because she told lies about a visit she made to Israel and was promptly appointed to her position of great responsibility by May’s successor, Boris Johnson, he who declares himself to be “a passionate defender of Israel.” Across the Atlantic, the amounts of Israel Lobby money given to U.S. politicians are staggering, and as the independent Clingendael Institute notes, “in August 2019, President Donald Trump declared himself ‘history’s most pro-Israel U.S. president’ while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Trump as ‘the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House’.” Leaping on the Zionist bandwagon, presidential contender Joe Biden announced that “As President, Joe Biden will continue to ensure that the Jewish State, the Jewish people, and Jewish values have the unbreakable support of the United States.”
It cannot be expected that Britain or America will ever withdraw the olive branches of generous backing that they extend to Israel, or that they would ever condemn destruction of Palestinian olive trees or seizure of Palestinian lands; but German and France are not unconditionally supportive of Israeli dominion and in July issued a statement saying that “any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict.” They won’t have the slightest effect on Israel’s continuing illegal occupation and annexation of Palestinian territory, but at least there is someone out there who cares a bit about Palestinians.
But nobody cares about Israel’s nuclear weapons.
The badge of Israel’s military forces displays the Star of David and a sword, and it is strikingly ironic that the sword is wrapped in an olive branch. No doubt, while Israeli soldiers bulldoze and otherwise hack down acres of Palestinian olive trees, consigning thousands of Palestinians to poverty, they rejoice that their mission of destruction is truly peaceful. And they probably think their country’s nuclear arsenal should also be wrapped in olive branches.
In March 2006 it was revealed that the United Kingdom “secretly supplied Israel with plutonium during the 1960s despite a warning from military intelligence that it could help the Israelis to develop a nuclear bomb… The documents also show how Britain made hundreds of shipments to Israel of material which could have helped in its nuclear weapons programme, including compounds of uranium, lithium, beryllium and tritium, as well as heavy water.” (Britain acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968.) As is normal, the matter was not followed up officially — at least on the surface.
But down below, in the gutters, it appears there was much activity and in August 2016 the UK’s Independent newspaper reported that “more than 400 documents, including government files relating to the UK’s involvement in Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal, have gone missing.”
The lost material was stored in the National Archives in Kew, near London. From first-hand experience I state flatly that this establishment is staffed by dedicated and most efficient professionals who do not “lose” such things as “more than 60 Foreign office files, over 40 Home office documents, and six from the records of former prime ministers” dealing with Britain’s “military and nuclear collaboration with Israel.”
In 2016 the BBC submitted a Freedom of Information Request for these publicly available documents about British government policy and was informed that they had all disappeared. Among the missing material “is a Foreign Office file from 1979 entitled ‘Military and nuclear collaboration with Israel: Israeli nuclear armament’.”
The papers were important historical records, and it is astonishing that there has been no investigation into what could be revealed as a criminal conspiracy to destroy official chronicles. But the attitude of successive UK governments concerning Israel’s nuclear weapons has been remarkably consistent, in that unrelenting support for all Israeli activities has been displayed, no matter the political persuasion of the governing party. And in the four years since the material disappeared there has been no attempt to pursue the matter.
Britain’s stance regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons was brought up in 2014 when the government was asked in the House of Lords “whether they will make representations to the government of Israel to declare (1) any stocks of nuclear weapons they possess, and (2) any facilities they fund to research and produce such weapons.” In spite of the fact that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2014 Yearbook recorded that Israel had 80 nuclear warheads, the government’s answer was that “Israel has not declared a nuclear weapons programme. We have regular discussions with the Government of Israel on a range of nuclear-related issues. The Government of Israel is in no doubt as to our views…” In one respect the answer was clearly indicative of policy, in that Israel is certainly in no doubt about the views of Britain (and France and the U.S. and very many others) concerning its illegal nuclear weapons: it is most unlikely that any international action will be taken to limit Israel’s nuclear arsenal (now numbering at least 90 warheads according to SIPRI) or in any way interfere with its nuclear posture.
The certain things are that Israel will carry on destroying Palestinian houses and olive trees while the countries of the Western world keep extending olive branches to its nuclear bombs.