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April 21, 2010

“I Can Make a Change”

Bethlehem University Students Plant Olive Trees in Recognition of Land day

Olive trees“The Olive tree is the symbol of life; its roots are connected to its land. We Palestinians are like the olive tree, our roots are connected to our land,” said Ala’a Soboh ( BU’13).

This is the thirty fourth time Palestinians recognize the 30th of March as the Land Day. Since 1976, this day is considered an important annual day of commemoration in the Palestinian national political calendar; it is marked by Palestinians all over the world.

In recognition of land day, Bethlehem University students headed to “Ush Al-Gurab”, east Beit Sahour, Bethlehem to plant some olive trees. “The olive tree is the symbol of the Palestinian cause,” says Mohammad Abu Latifeh (BU’10).

For Palestinians this day symbolizes grief and frustration, “we are celebrating something that we lost and loose everyday,” said Ala’a, “major change has to take place,” she continued.

Olive treesSince 1967, Israel has confiscated more than about 750,000 acres of Palestinian land from the 1.5 million acres that make up the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This land has been used mostly for building illegal settlements and Israeli-only roads.

In order to strengthen the signs of Palestinian existence in Palestinian lands, Bethlehem University students joined other young Palestinians in the Olive Tree Campaign organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative to plant trees there. “Although planting trees is a simple things to do, it enhanced my feeling of belonging to my homeland, Palestine,” explained Ala’a.

The fifty trees Bethlehem University students planted were nothing more than a symbol of peace resistance, a way to express themselves and the frustration they feel, “everyday we feel the oppression, today we did something to make a change,” Abu Latifeh added.

Initially, Land Day commemorates the killing of six Palestinians in the Galilee on March 30, 1976 by Israeli troops during peaceful protests over the confiscation of Palestinian lands. It has since become a day for demonstration linking all Palestinians in their struggle against occupation, and for self-determination and national liberation. Bethlehem University students took the occasion of Land day to help make a change in their harsh reality.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine