I just received a couple of certificates for trees "I planted
" in Rawabi, a modern ecological urban center planned for construction north of Ramallah, Palestine. (The certificates are sleeker than the JNF certificates i use to receive as a kid who "planted" trees in Israel 50 years ago.
employees (Jewish and Arab) of the Jewish National Fund (JNF
) in the Galilee helped Palestinians plant the first seedlings of an unique project at the future site of the Palestinian
city of Ruwabi
The JNF (a wing of the Zionist movement dedicated to forestry and other nature and conservation projects)
started by contibuting 3,000 trees for forests at the edge of the city.
Quoted in an HaAretz
Article, 29 Nov 2009 (anniversary of UN Partition Plan for the creation of Two States)
, a JNF's forestry manager who is also the liaison between the JNF and the Ruwabi city planners said
"We have contributed with our know-how, by advising on how to prepare the ground for the planting and how public gardens should be planned, as well as the best times for planting, and what kinds of trees it is preferable to plant. We did not talk about politics and we shall not talk about it - we deal with trees and understand forestry, botany and greenhouses."
The city is being planned for 6,000 housing units aimed at the Palestinian middle class.
"There is no other city like it in our area with regards to the ecological-forestry aspects of planning. Everything will be natural, and there is great attention to preserving nature, the trees, the springs, the streams, the topography and other values, such as antiquities. During the planning stage the natural resources are taken into account," he said.
Seeds were collected throughout Israel and nurtured at JNF greenhouses to provide good natural mix of trees for planting..unlike the early years when JNF filled Israel with easily nurtured (but not sturdy) pine trees.
Following HaAretz publication of the story there was criticism from some Jewish and Zionist organizations
, claiming that JNF should be dealing only in the advancement of Israeli projects.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Alon Badihi, executive director of JNF
"the JNF was mandated by the Israeli government as the national forest service for the Land of Israel. This project was carried out under that mandate."
Israel often uses the upcoming Tu B'Shvat holiday to increase awareness in this area of land conservation and renewal.
Now is the time to plant click here one tree or more..for a greener land...Green Israel/Green Palestine:
for two people deeply rooted in this land who must learn to live here together, equally nourished, each with the ability to grow and develop freely.
There are other issues not yet resolved. Israel must
still give control to the Palestinian Authority over a corridor leading to the town so a proper road can be paved, but we can plant trees
and let our elected officials know that the cooperation already shown in this area should serve as an example to push ahead on all fronts.
I wrote the people of Rawabi that i hope that smaller and poorer towns and villages will also benefit from their vision.