Report: Israeli Siege Has Cost Palestinians Over $280m in Agricultural Losses
The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture has issued a report saying that the total direct losses of the agricultural sector in the Palestinian lands during the nine-month-old Intifada have exceeded $280 million.
In the report, the ministry said that some "374,030 trees were uprooted in various areas, of which 10,8951 trees were olive."
Palestinian Minister of Agriculture Hikmat Zeid was quoted by the Palestinian news agency (WAFA) as saying that the "current and cruel siege imposed on the Palestinian lands...has greatly affected the farmers, as a result of the suspension of the transport...of products.”
At least one Israeli spokesman, quoted in a February article by the Environment News Service, was unapologetic about the destruction of the orchards.
"The orchards are used for cover for offensive attacks," he told the agency, and "by taking them down there is more space for keeping an open ground for protection."
The last several months of the Palestinian uprising have seen repeated attacks by Israeli forces on people and property in the Occupied Territories, using everything from tanks and bulldozers to F-16 fighter-bombers.
Besides the loss of life – over 600 people killed, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians – the environment has suffered immeasurably. Moreover, the latest damage only deepens the environmental wounds of three decades of Israeli military occupation.
”Whereas in the last twenty years Israel has been improving its environmental awareness and promulgated laws and regulations aiming at protecting the environment to meet international standards, it has not extended the benefit of this move to the Occupied Territories,” notes a massive report issued last year by the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW) – Albawaba.com