Israel-Palestine war: Israeli soldiers plant tree in Gaza honouring extremist settlers
Israeli soldiers on Tuesday planted a tree in northern Gaza in honour of extremist Israeli settlers imprisoned for violence against Palestinians, according to an online video.
"We planted the tree for the uprising of the people of Israel and the release of all the prisoners of Zion,” one soldier said, during the ongoing ground incursion in Gaza. “Ariel Danino and Amiram Ben Oliel, we do not forget you, you are part of this struggle.”
Danino, a settler in the unauthorised West Bank outpost of Kumi Ori, was put into administrative detention on 29 October for “suspicion of assault, vandalising property, and rioting,” according to what pro-settler legal organisation Honenu told Haaretz.
Danino had posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, about his intent to “take care” of the Palestinian village of Beita, and eventually kill its residents due to jokes made about Israeli hostages in Gaza.
Danino’s remarks come as the West Bank has been experiencing a spike in settler and military violence against Palestinians, killing 163 Palestinians since 7 October.
Amiram Ben Oliel, on the other hand, was convicted in 2020 for a 2015 deadly arson attack, in which he killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family in Duma, occupied West Bank.
The soldiers honouring the men planted the tree on the location of former Israeli settlements in Gaza, which were evacuated and destroyed following Israel’s withdrawal from the strip in 2005.
Their act comes as Israel continues its ground incursion in the strip, as their forces claim to have cut the territory in half and encircled Gaza City, while Hamas officials deny that Israeli forces have made any significant military gains.
In a statement made on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his country will have the “overall security responsibility” over Gaza for an “indefinite period”, indicating that his military is planning to stay in the strip for an extended period.
Israel’s offensive in Gaza started after a Hamas-led surprise assault killed over 1,400 Israelis on 7 October.
Repeated Israeli bombing of the strip, compounded with the current ground operations, have killed over 10,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children.