January 10, 2006

A Tree Libel in Samaria

You are a fly on the wall of Ehud Olmert’s first cabinet meeting as interim prime minister of the State of Israel. What weighty things are being discussed? Perhaps the unrelenting rain of Kassams which, only by open miracles, have so far failed to hit schools and homes in Sderot and vital power and energy infrastructure in Ashkelon? Maybe the 900% increase in weapons smuggling reported by the General Security Services and the threat of even worse trafficking through the new “terrorist superhighway” opened between Rafah and the heartland of Samaria by Condoleeza Rice? Hopefully also the horrific prospect of Hamas ballot papers having to be handed out by Israeli post offices under further pressure from the White House?


There are clearly more important priorities.

Olive trees.

It seems that left-wing Israelis and their Arab friends have accused Jewish farmers in Elon Moreh of cutting down over 2,000 olive trees in Samaria. This tree libel was debunked by JNF experts who confirmed that the trees in question were pruned, not vandalised. But this did not stop the story from running away with itself. All the way to Olmert’s very first cabinet meeting as acting PM whose historic minutes will record his statement : "I condemn the phenomenon of cutting down olive trees, and I call upon the Attorney General to take action against the wild people responsible for this."

Israel stands leaderless on the threshold of a 3rd terrorist Intifada and whilst our so-called peace partners plant rocket launchers in the tomato fields we vacated in Gaza, our government frets about olive trees in Samaria.

It is truly frightening that Mr Olmert cannot see the war for the trees.
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