By Dibbah Zeitoun
In agriculture, we live our lives by the seasons. The rhythms of the climate guide us in what activities to pursue: when to irrigate, when to sow, when to plow, what to harvest, and when to cut down our own trees because we want to do something else with the land and then say it was Jewish settlers who did it because that way we can get payment from the Palestinian Authority as victims, and perhaps also get a measure of fame when NGOs and human rights activists come to hear our story and take our pictures. But it’s been a long summer – is it blame-Jews-for-cutting-down-our-olive-trees season yet?
Last year we missed the season – the harvest took longer than we expected and our hired help wasn’t available anymore to go trunk by trunk with a chainsaw at an acceptable rate. We watched as some of our neighbors in the valley to the north attracted media attention and sympathetic treatment from the likes of Rabbis for Human Rights and Molad, not to mention a hefty sum from Fatah for helping cement the image of Israelis as violent vandals. I bet they also had a nice insurance policy on those trees, probably with a lucrative settler vandalism clause. Lucky bastards.
This year, though, we plan to make a killing, so to speak, by the same method – of course that requires the preparatory work of insurance, completing the harvest, clearing the orchard of anything that might get in the way, and getting down to the business of cutting down our trees and blaming Jews for it. We have a whole schedule set, but it’s going to be tight – a delay of even a day or two means we might miss the opportunity to underwrite a shift to some other use of the land by framing Jews.
I think we’re going to have to schedule the cutting for a Saturday. That’s when no Jews will be around to film us doing it, because the ones around here are all Sabbath-observers. For some reason the media, human rights activists and NGOs don’t ask how it’s possible those same Sabbath-observers allegedly came to our field by means that violate the Jewish Sabbath and then engaged in act after act of Sabbath-violation as they cut down tree after tree.
But hey, I’m not going to trouble myself with such questions. We get money, fame, and a measure of national heroism, so who cares?
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