Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) Dec. 2004 - Feb. 2005

Environmentalists Raise Awareness on Deforestation in Palestinian Areas

The World Council of Churches is working with environmentalists in Jordan and the region on a campaign to stop Israel from uprooting trees in Palestinian areas

by Rami Abdelrahman, The Jordan Times, Feb. 28, 2005

A few days after the world's largest non-Catholic church organisation announced it would take “serious measures” against companies that support the building of the separation wall in the occupied territories, an activist working for the council delivered a lecture in Amman to raise awareness on “Israeli colonial construction activities causing deforestation in Palestinian areas.”

“The Israeli authorities say they do it for security reasons, as they build the separation wall inside Arab territories,” German environmental activist and long-time bicyclist, Chris Gocke, said.

Gocke, who works as the council's “Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine and Israel” with the local community in the occupied village of Jayyous, said Palestinian farmers are not compensated by the Israeli authorities for the loss of their trees.

“Palestinians who sell their land to Israelis, and those who receive any kind of compensation from Israeli authorities are frowned at in the Palestinian community... not that Israel provides any compensation,” he said during the lecture, designed to raise money to plant new trees in Palestinian areas.

According to the organisers of the lecture in Jordan, the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, Israel is uprooting an average of 1 tree per minute in Palestinian areas, with these trees constituting an “important source sustaining livelihoods of Palestinians.” The total number of trees uprooted by Israeli construction between 2001 and 2003 is estimated 1.1 million.

These includes 263,000 olive trees, 356,000 citrus trees, 113,000 forest trees, 69,000 stone fruit trees, 51,000 grape vines, 18,000 banana trees, 23,000 palm trees and 251,471 other kinds of trees.

Another report on the same event:

Events: The Israeli Uprooting of Trees in Palestine
An Eyewitness Account

The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN)
Feb. 23, 2005

Members and friends of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature carefully listen

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Disclaimer: I have been active from Dec. 2004 to Feb. 2005 for Evangelisches Missionswerk in Südwestdeutschland (EMS) as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving on the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer EMS or the WCC. If you would like publish the information contained here or disseminate further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer and Managing Director ( for permission. Thank you.