"Largely forgotten amidst a political debate that too often focuses on rocks and bulldozers, fear, hatred and historical trauma, the Israeli military occupation has prevented many West Bank farmers from harvesting the olive trees their grandfathers and great-grandfathers planted, and caring for the land they know and love like their own children. "Maybe you focus on "rocks and bulldozers," Wheeler, but don't assume the rest of us do. Some people actually pay attention to the continuous refusal of the Palestinians to make peace and live in harmony with the Jews, which sometimes leads to negative consequences. One consequence is that harvesting food is harder. Maybe it's time the Palestinians valued their olive trees over their desire to destroy Israel, since we know valuing the lives of their children won't do it.
Unfortunately another truth is that the olive trees are just another weapon in the eyes of the Palestinians, both for their propaganda value and their military value. How many times have they lied about Israeli settlers attacking their olive trees? Can anyone actually count? Don't expect Wheeler to notice though, because he has staked the success of his documentary film on the Palestinians being helpless victims, and he'll be damned if he's going to let the truth get in the way:
"Nearly 60 percent of the arable land in the West Bank is used for growing olive trees, employing over 100,000 Palestinians, making it by far the most lucrative agricultural industry for an aspiring nation that suffers from a crushing unemployment rate of 30 percent."I don't know if my information is out of date, or his is, but in 2010 the unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.2%, and even if it is 30% the West Bank is nowhere close to the country or territory with the highest unemployment rate. It is, however, the only one that Wheeler is expected to propagandize for, so naturally the suffering of the chosen victims is elevated in importance to the suffering of others. Suck it, Kosovo and Senegal! Anyway, moving on:
"Farmers in Palestine struggle every year to reach their olive groves due to political restrictions and Israeli settlement activities. Five hundred thousand more have been uprooted or bulldozed since 2001. According to Baha Hilo, coordinator of the Joint Advocacy Initiative, each of those trees would have yielded nine kilograms of olives over a 30-year period, meaning an enormous loss of sustenance and income for olive farmers."If you're also curious where that "five hundred thousand" number came from, click on Wheeler's link. It takes you to the freaking YMCA of East Jerusalem, and a press release about an organization that takes money to plant olive trees. We're just supposed to take their word for it that the number is correct, and that an organization that accuses Israel of "barbaric, irresponsible and careless practices," is being 100% truthful with us. Unfortunately for Mr. Wheeler, at this point I know better, and have a feeling that the five hundred thousand olive trees are like the ten thousand prisoners. In other words, a fiction.
Now it's time to really turn on the waterworks, as Wheeler comes to the end of his article:
"The inaccessible and destroyed olive trees represent more than just a resource loss. The destruction of their sacred tree by Israeli settlers and the Israeli military is a spiritual affront too for Palestinians. "One farmer told us, 'When they were destroying my trees, it was like somebody uprooting my heart from my lungs,'" adds Hilo."Ready for another Huffington Post Monitor challenge?
Find me an article where one single Israeli who lost someone they cared about in this conflict was interviewed about how they felt in the pages of the Huffington Post. Bonus points if it's an article written by a blogger, even more points if it's a blogger who pretends to be non-partisan like Wheeler.
I highly doubt you will succeed though. It's becoming clear that the Huffington Post values Palestinian plants far more than it does Israeli lives. That isn't a compliment to the olive trees, I might add.