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Uprooting Identities: The Regulation of Olive Trees in the Occupied West Bank

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Abstract

Trees in general, and olive and pine trees in particular, perform a pivotal role in the Zionist and the Palestinian national narratives. This article reveals the complex historical and cultural processes that have led to the strong identification between the olive tree and the Palestinian people, arguing that this identification is not only a reflection of the olive's unique economic and cultural status in this region but also an act of resistance to Israel's occupation. The article also explains how Israel's tightening of surveillance, practiced in the name of olive protection, actually ends up forcing an alien set of spatial and temporal regimes on the everyday life of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. In this sense, the project of resistance performed by Palestinians through the rooting of the olive into the land has become yet another means for Israeli domination.

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