Hasbara Lie Exposed: “Staged” Settler Violence is Actually Tree Pruning

Hasbara Lie Exposed: “Staged” Settler Violence is Actually Tree Pruning

 In a recent Ynet News story, a news group operating within West Bank settlements witnessed “Arabs and Leftists” staging an event in which their olive trees were vandalized, so as to further demonize settlers. According to the piece:

The photos, taken by members of the Tazpit Unit, were shot on Palestinian land Friday, near the Neveh Tzuf settlement. The images allegedly show Palestinians and left-wing activists cutting down Palestinian olive trees using an electric saw.

Many so-called ‘Price Tag’ acts targeting Palestinians were recorded in the last few weeks, and the settlers now claim they were staged by the Palestinians themselves and intended to harm the settlers’ image.

Tazpit photographer Ehud Amiton, who documented the vandalism act on Friday, says that this is exactly what can be seen in his images.

The article offers the following images to attest to the accusation:

From this evidence we are expected to deduce that these men could possibly be “leftists” (is it that they carry their saws in an apologetic, bleeding-heart liberal sort of way?), and that they attempted to perpetrate this ruse in broad daylight, with no apparent interest in hiding their activity. We are expected to conclude that, while staging the crime, they thought it best to place the branches they cleanly sawed from their olive trees in neat piles, perhaps as a way of implicitly commending settlers for their organizational skills.

We are also expected to suspend our knowledge of the recent culmination of the olive harvest, and of the proper procedures for the maintenance of post-harvest trees.

Here is another example of staged settler violence:

Okay, I lied. It is actually a picture of pruned olive branches from an Italian grove immediately after the harvest season. You can find it here, in a blog dedicated to olive oil and wine from the Sabine Hills in Italy. The post explains:

Pruning olive trees can take place anytime from the Autumn to early spring, depending on factors such as the type of olive, the yield of the previous year and the condition of the tree.

The pruned branches are then collected into piles between the trees. The leaves are then either burnt, or used to produce cosmetics or complimentary health remedies.

As readers, we are also expected to disregard  this video, posted by the creator of Olive Abacus, a “permanent online olive information repository” dedicated to “shedding light on all issues related to olives.”
In the video’s first seconds our narrator “Olive Branche” illuminates:

Each year, immediately after the olive harvest in Andaluc?a, Spain, the trees are pruned of their older branches making way for the younger, more productive ones. As an olive branch ages, it becomes less productive, requiring pruning. Pruning allows more sunlight into more areas of the tree. It also increases the quality and quantity of fruit the tree produces.

The video then cuts to an image of a masked man with a chainsaw, cutting olive branches and placing them to the side. At 2:56 we are shown neat piles of branches (where have we seen this before?), which will then be disposed of.

In essence, we are expected to be utterly devoid of critical thought in order to believe such a wild story. We are supposed to ignore the fact that settler violence against Palestinians is well documented by human rights organizations. We are called upon, instead, to believe that Palestinians are actually victimizing themselves, despite the fact that they reap nothing from such action. No arrests are made in connection with violence against Palestinian property. Police rarely even go through the motions of investigation, and if they do so, perpetrators are never brought to justice.

For most families, they are lucky if they even have access to their farm land, considering blockage by ever-encroaching settlements and the security apparatus they bring along. When they are allowed onto their own land, these olives can be the only source of income they have. If no one compensates them for their losses, if no one but a few human rights organizations and activists even care to notice this long history of abuse, and if abusers are systematically absolved of responsibility, what, exactly, do those who “staged” this vandalism stand to gain? As readers, we must stifle these questions. We wouldn’t want to be construed as “leftists” now would we?