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The Politics of Planting

Israeli-Palestinian Competition for Control of Land in the Jerusalem Periphery

On the open landscape of Israel and the West Bank, where pine and cypress forests grow alongside olive groves, tree planting has become symbolic of conflicting claims to the land. Palestinians cultivate olive groves as a vital agricultural resource, while the Israeli government has made restoration of mixed-growth forests a national priority. Although both sides plant for a variety of purposes, both have used tree planting to assert their presence on—and claim to—disputed land.

Shaul Ephraim Cohen has conducted an unprecedented study of planting in the region and the control of land it signifies. In The Politics of Planting, he provides historical background and examines both the politics behind Israel’s afforestation policy its consequences. Focusing on the open land surrounding Jerusalem and four Palestinian villages outside the city, this study offers a new perspective on the conflict over land use in a region where planting has become a political tool.

For the valuable data it presents—collected from field work, previously unpublished documents, and interviews—and the insight it provides into this political struggle, this will be an important book for anyone studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

222 pages | 6 halftones, 5 maps | 6 x 9 | © 1993

University of Chicago Geography Research Papers

Geography: Social and Political Geography

Table of Contents

List of Figures
1. Introduction
2. Land and Trees in Historical Perspective
3. Afforestation in Palestine from the Turn of the Century through 1948
4. Afforestation as a National Enterprise, 1948-1967
5. Jerusalem Divided; Jerusalem United
6. Land Law, Policy, and Practice in the West Bank
7. Jerusalem’s Green Belt
8. The Village of Sur Baher
9. Beit Iksa and Beit Surik
10. The Village of Abu Dis
11. An Overview: The Politics of Planting

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