On Wednesday March 7, A group of 11 Norwegian students and their teacher from Oslo have been insulted and threatened off the land of Palestinian farmer Yassin Da’doua in Beit Iskaria in the southern part of the Westbank where they were helping the farmer to plant olive trees.

The group had just started the planting of 200 olive trees when the leader of the radical settler organisation ‘Women in Green’, Nadia Matar, arrived with two other Israeli settlers who started taking photos of the young Norwegians. Nadia Matar raised her voice and told the Norwegian youth that “your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land. This is the land for the people of Israel. You are helping the wrong people. You are like the nazis.”

When the army arrived the soldiers told the group to stop planting trees because it is prohibited to plant on Stateland. The farmer has documents both from the Ottoman period and from the Israeli court that state he is the private owner of the land. More soldiers arrived as well as the civil police, the boarder police, riot police and a representative of the Israeli Land Authorities.

When some of the Norwegian students continued planting trees, the army decided to arrest one of the Palestinian youth, the nephew of the farmer.

By this time the Norwegian students were overwhelmed by the number of army and police and the aggressiveness of the settlers. “How can they call me a nazi? My grandparents fought the nazis during the second world war,” said one of the students.

The commander in chief told the coordinator of the Olive Tree Campaign that the farmer and his family could stay on the land but the Norwegians had to leave. The bus was then escorted back to Bethlehem by an Israeli police car. On the way the farmer called to tell that the remaining olive trees and the tools had been confiscated by the army.

A team of 3 Israeli laywers from the ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’ is currently on the case.

Women in Green

Women in Green is a registered non-profit organization founded in 1993, and is not affiliated with any political party. According to the group’s website, the movement is “dedicated to the security and Jewish heritage of historic Israel”. It is opposed to a two-state solution; that is, the creation of a Palestinian state alongside, and mutually recognizant with, Israel. The group particularly opposes the return of land captured in1967, and aggressively supports Israeli settlement of those territories, which it proposes should be annexed.

Ruth and Nadia Matar, co-chairwomen of Women in Green, argue in Transfer of Arabs is the Only Solution for Peace that Arabs in the “Holy Land” are descended from relatively recent immigrants, and favor their “transfer” to the neighboring Arab countries from which, the Matars claim, they originate. They maintain that the United States and the E.U. could use the aid they provide (and political pressure) to help resettle Arabs, and that co-operation from surrounding Arab states would be required as well. They insist that “Fair payment can be made to those Arabs who agree to leave the Holy Land”, and that “Arabs who wish to remain can do so, provided they agree to be a citizen of a Jewish State.”

Women in Green’s political activism extends to the United States, where it maintains several chapters, which hold demonstrations and fundraisers every year.

From their website http://www.womeningreen.org :

We act out of our firm belief in the central role of Eretz Israel for the future of the Jewish People. Today, more than ever, we must actualize our possession of our land. In addition to our usual activities of education and hasbara as to the right of the Jewish people to its Biblical Homeland, Women in Green is also behind the struggle for a Jewish Shdema and the Yibaneh fund for building and planting in the hills of Judea. One of the places where Women in Green plant trees to safeguard Israel’s Statelands, is Netzer; in the heart of Gush Etzion, between Elazar and Alon Shvut.

The area referred to as Netzer in the last sentece, in the heart of the Gush Etzion settlement block, is the location where farmer Yassin Da’doua has his lands where the Norwegian group was invited to plant trees.