Last update:

Israel uproots and confiscates Palestinian agricultural land, Occupied West Bank and Gaza

Thousands of acres of Palestinian agricultural land have been razed and uprooted by Israeli occupation authorities. The One Million Tree Campaign replants trees and supports Palestinian farmers to maintain ownership of their land and livelihoods.


Israel has long employed a variety of tactics in order to seize private Palestinian land for Jewish settlements. In 1950, Israel enacted The Absentee Property Law, which gives the Israel the ‘right’ to seize, administer and control land owned by absentees. In the 1980s, Israel started implementing an 1850 Ottoman law, which states that any plot of land which has not been cultivated for three years, or has less than half its area cultivated must be reverted to the Ottoman sultan, or to the state in the case of Israel. While this law was originally enacted to encourage farmers to use their land, it has been manipulated by Israeli occupation authorities to facilitate land grabs.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Israel uproots and confiscates Palestinian agricultural land, Occupied West Bank and Gaza
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Military installations
Specific commodities:Land
Fruits and Vegetables
Ecosystem Services
Olives, Trees
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In response to the stark injustice faced by Palestinian farmers and land owners, Arab Group for the Protection of Nature launched the One Million Trees Campaign (MTC) in 2001 with a focus on replanting tree seedlings and supporting farmers in maintaining ownership of their land and avoiding confiscation on the basis of the old Ottoman law enacted by Israel. Since the project’s initiation, over 2 million trees have been replanted, over 100,000 dunams have been rehabilitated and over 23,000 farmers have been successfully targeted. The work was executed in collaboration with several partners in Palestine.

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:07/06/1967
Company names or state enterprises:Caterpillar (CAT) from United States of America - Caterpillar provides bulldozers that have razed and destroyed Palestinian agricultural land
Relevant government actors:Jewish National Fund
Israel Development Authority
Israel Land Administration
Israeli Defense Force
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature
APN Partners in Palestine:
The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
Palestinian Agriculture Farmers' Union (PAFU)
Land Research Center (LRC)
Palestinian Voluntary Work Committee
Al-Nahda Rural Society
Bethlehem Farmers' Union
Salfit Association for Development
Stop the Wall
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Soil erosion, Desertification/Drought
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Specific impacts on women, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:The case of uprooting and razing agricultural land is one of extreme violations of human rights and international law. By preventing the uprooting of trees and the subsequent confiscation of land, culture and history, the Million Tree Campaign is an active alternative to the injustice faced by Palestinians. However, Israel also has an obligation to give Palestinians their right to access just and fair redress and effective remedy, and ultimately, the only long-lasting alternative is an end to the occupation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Although the Israeli occupation authorities continue to operate with complete impunity and no indictment, the replanting of trees and the rehabilitation of razed agricultural land are a means of resistance against the expropriation of Palestinian land and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. To ensure the sustainable success of the campaign, APN has extended its services beyond the replanting of trees by installing irrigation networks, building water collection systems and providing water tanks for farmers.
The replanting of trees is an all-encompassing campaign as it not just provides an additional source of income generation for vulnerable families, but is also a means for achieving sustainable food sovereignty. The campaign deepens the roots of threatened Palestinian tradition and heritage and raises awareness at the local and international level on the violations of human rights committed by illegal Israeli settlers and the Israeli occupation authorities.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Absentees' Property Law

Land Acquisition Law

1850 Ottoman Law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

3RP, 2017. Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 In Response To The Syria Crisis, s.l.: s.n.

Anon., 1950. Absentees' Property Law, 5710-1950. Jerusalem: Knesset.

Bishara, S., 2009. Letter Regarding Absentee Property. s.l.:Adalah.

El-Jazairi, L., 2010. The road to olive farming: Challenges to developing the economy of olive oil in the West Bakn, s.l.: Oxfam.

Falk, R. & Tilley, V., 2017. Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, Beirut: United Nations.

FAO, 2011. The State of Food and Agriculture , Rome: s.n.

FAO, 2013. Governing land for women and men: A technical guide to support the achievement of responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure, Rome: s.n.

Forman, G. & Kedar, A., 2004. From Arab Land to 'Israel Lands': The Legal Dispossession of the Palestinians Displaced by Israel in the Wake of 1948. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22(6), pp. 809-930.

Habitat International Coalition, 2009. The Human Rights Dimensions of Land Middle East/North Africa: Dispossession, Displacement and Development Alternatives, s.l.: s.n.

Haddad, F., 2014. Rangeland resource governance - Jordan. In: P. Herrera, J. Davies & P. Baena, eds. The Governance of Rangelands: Collective actions for sustainable pastoralism. s.l.:Routledge.

IFAD & GLTN & UN Habitat, n.d. Women's access to land in sub-Saharan Africa, s.l.: s.n.

Liston, G., 2013. The historical context of the Israeli land and planning law regime. Mondoweiss.

Mair, L. & Long, R., 2003. Backs to the Wall, s.l.: s.n.

Matar, I., 1997. The Quiet War: Land Expropriation in the Occupied Territories. Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture, 4(2).

Ministry of Agriculture Palestine, 2009. Losses and Damages, s.l.: s.n.

Namubiru-Mwaura, E., 2014. Land Tenure and Gender: Approaches and Challenges for Strengthening Rural Women's Land Rights, s.l.: The World Bank.

OCHA, 2017. Humanitarian Needs Overview: Yemen, s.l.: s.n.

Palestine Liberation Organization , 2005. Israel's Continuted Land Confiscation in Jerusalem: The Application of Israel's Absentee Property Law, s.l.: s.n.

Palestinian Culture and Society, n.d. 1953 Land Acquisition Law. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 2017].

Reytar, K., Veit, P. & Tagliarino, N., 2016. Indigenous Land Rights: How Far Have We Come and How Far Do We Have to Go?, s.l.: World Resources Institute.

Schoneveld, G., 2016. Host country governance and the African land rush: 7 reasons why large-scale farmland investments fail to contribute to sustainable development. Geoforum.

UN Habitat, n.d. The Right to Adequate Housing: Fact Sheet No. 21, s.l.: s.n.

United Nations Human Rights, 2003. Right to Water: Fact Sheet No. 35, s.l.: s.n.

United Nations Human Rights, n.d. The Right to Adequate Food: Fact Sheet No. 34, s.l.: s.n.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs , 2012. Olive Harvest Factsheet, s.l.: s.n.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2017. The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin , s.l.: s.n.

United Nations, 2013. Rural Landless and Land Poor, s.l.: s.n.

United Nations, n.d. Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform Our World , s.l.: s.n.

UNRWA, 2013. Olive harvest: continued settler attacks against refugee livelihoods, s.l.: s.n.

Wickeri, E., 2011. Land is Life, Land is Power: Landlessness, Exclusion, and Deprivation in Nepal. Fordham International Law Journal, 34(4).

Wickeri, E. & Kalhan, A., 2011. Land Rights Issues in International Human Rights Law, s.l.: Institute for Human Rights and Business .

Zimmermann, W., 2011. Towards Land Governance in the Middle East and North Africa Region, s.l.: FAO.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

APN Accomplishments and the launch of the third phase of the Million Trees Campaign
[click to view]

Farmer Mohammad Jamal's inspiring success story

Mohammad Jamal is one of the beneficiaries of the tree and vegetable planting project in Beir Surik, near Jerusalem. The project (2016-2017) targets farmers across villages near Jerusalem by distributing over 13,000 fruit trees, and was sponsored by the International Islamic Charity Organization in Kuwait, in collaboration with 'Wakf Al Quds' in Lebanon, the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature and the Rural Revival Group in the North Western villages of Jerusalem.

Mohammad Jamal inherited a profound love for the land from his father and grandfather, and refused to give in to pressures and challenges he faced. He was adamant to farm on it to avoid confiscation, and with the help of the donation, he planted a variety of fruit trees, vegetable seedlings and herbs that now bring him a sustainable source of income.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature
Last update10/07/2017
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.