February 2, 2007 – Joint Planting Ceremony for Tu Bishvat in Tsur Hadassah / Wadi Fukin

Israeli and Palestinian families plant trees along the route of the Separation Barrier in Wadi Fukin

Friday, February 2, 2007

Families and children from Tsur Hadassah and the neighboring Palestinian village Wadi Fukin will meet for a joint ceremony to plant fruit trees and to establish a meeting place for residents of the two neighboring villages close to the Green Line. The planting will take place on the planned route of the Separation Barrier that threatens to seriously harm the Valley and its residents.

Wadi Fukin is a unique agricultural community. The 11 springs of water found in the village have served the needs of it residents for generations and constitute the basis for their specially preserved terraced agricultural system found on the slopes of the mountainside. The area is slated to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Today, Wadi Fukin is under threat from several angles: the planned Separation Barrier will destroy the springs water flow; Beitar Ilit, a neighboring settlement on the hills above, is fast developing without prior consideration as to environmental impacts and is polluting the wadi with sewage disposal and excess building material; and a new road (#374) is planned to cut through the slopes of the valley.

During the ceremony, representatives from both communities and EcoPeace Middle East will call on the need to preserve Wadi Fukin and to prevent harm to the Valley and its residents.

“We do not believe that this Barrier will lead to security”, says Dr. Dudy Tzfati from Tsur Hadassah. “Security lies in honoring the rights of the citizens of Wadi Fukin, and in particular, in honoring their right to continue their historical tradition of agriculture so unique to this Valley.”

This event has been initiated by “EcoPeace Middle East” and “Residents for Tsur Hadassah”, together with the Reform Community of Tsur Hadassah.

Media is welcome: Please meet at 09:00 a.m., Friday, February 2, at the East Gate of Tsur Hadassah. The planting site is a 15 minute walk from the meeting point.

For more information, please contact:
Zach Tagar, EcoPeace Middle East; 03-5605383 ext. 7, or 057-7492201
Itai Haviv, Residents for Tsur Hadassah; 054-4414654

This activity is part of EcoPeace Middle East “Good Water Neighbors” project, supported by the EU Partnership for Peace, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and the UK Government’s Global Opportunities Fund.