Over 200 forest fires are raging in Palestine (now renamed the Jewish StateÂ of Israel including its occupied Palestinian territories). Many countriesÂ are helping put out the fires including four teams of PalestinianÂ firefighters (no body helped Gaza when it was being fire-bombed by white
phosphorous). But the fascist racist government of â€œIsraelâ€ blamed theÂ Palestinians for the fires! Even some decent Israelis pointed out thatÂ fires are raging across Western Asia (aka the â€œMiddle Eastâ€). Here is a mapÂ put out by one Israeli website of location of fires across the regionÂ including in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey: http://bit.ly/2gGbqJU.
Perhaps coincidentally or otherwise, right after war criminal NetanyahuÂ blamed Palestinians, new fires erupted near Palestinian communities. If youÂ really want to know who is to blame for the damage, it is clearly ZionismÂ as I wrote in many articles and books before. In 1901 at the World ZionistÂ Congress and despite objections of conscientious Jews, a Jewish NationalÂ Fund (Keren Keyemet Li’Israel, or KKL) was established to further â€œJewishÂ colonizationâ€ (the term they used) of Palestine. One of the tasks was toÂ raise money and they used the gimmick of collecting money for trees. IndeedÂ they did plant trees but it was unfortunately the highly flammable EuropeanÂ pine tree. After 1948-1949 when some 500 Palestinian villages and townsÂ were depopulated, their lands (cultivated with figs, almonds, olives andÂ other trees) were razed to the ground and again resinous and inflammableÂ pine trees were planted. The same happened after 1967 when here PalestinianÂ villages were demolished and their village lands planted with the sameÂ European pines, one of those villages is the biblical Imwas (see photosÂ before and after here:Â https://freepaly.wordpress.com/tag/environmental-racism/ ).
The choice of European pine trees was because a) they grow fast, b) theyÂ give a European look to the otherwise â€œArabâ€ landscape, c) their leaves onÂ the ground makeÂ acidic preventing growth or regrowth of endogenous trees.Â In total KKL boasts that it planted 240 million pine trees. Resinous pineÂ is like petrol and burns with a ferocity. This was not the onlyÂ environmentally catastrophic decision by the Zionist movement in PalestineÂ (others include draining the Hula Wetlands and the diversion of the waterÂ of the river Jordan and now the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal).Â Environmentally, the current fires are deadly to all living creatures regardless of their
origins and they do spread to the remaining few indigenous forests and toÂ human dwellings (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist without distinction).
We environmentalists (Palestinian and Israeli) have longed warned of theÂ catastrophic consequences of politically driven decisions guided byÂ colonial ideology but devastating to native animals and plants.Â So here weÂ are the remaining native Palestinians watching our lands go up in flamesÂ and being blamed for it. This is not unusual and we are the victims ofÂ others from long ago. We even paid the price of what happened in WWII (byÂ Europeans to fellow Europeans). I am thinking now if a meteor hits earth,Â we Palestinians will also pay a disproportionate price. 7 million of us areÂ refugees or displaced people.
We in the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Palestine Institute ofÂ Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://palestinenature.org) urgeÂ protection of our nature. Environmental conservation is a priority for allÂ decent human beings including guarding biodiversity (and human diversity).
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) DirectorÂ Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and SustainabilityÂ Bethlehem University