A Tree Like No Other
December 24, 2008
Victor Davis Hanson in an endnote ostensibly about the religious value of olive trees in ancient Greece (A War Like No Other, p. 332):
Both sides in the present-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem to embrace the importance of olive trees as symbolic capital that has value far beyond producing olives. Throughout the years 2000-2002 the Palestinians cited the Israelis as bulldozing some fifteen thousand of their olive trees — about one hundred acres at normal planting densities — to clear paths along strategic areas to prevent sniper attacks. Yet the Christian Science Monitor (December 8, 2000) reported that both the destroyers and the owners, as traditional Mediterranean peoples, were depressed by the tactic: “We were educated not to uproot a sapling, and for us Israelis, this has left a bad taste,” remarked Yoni Figel, an Israel government official. In turn, the Palestinian mayor of Hares lamented, “Olives are like water to us. You cannot imagine a home without olive oil. The olive tree is a symbol of our people, surviving for centuries on these hillsides” (Daily Telegraph, London, November 3, 2000).
Makes you wonder if there might actually be some truth in this.