“Attacks on Palestinian farmers aren’t always about theft though, sometimes they are just about spite, as 162 complaints have been filed with Israeli police about settlers chopping down or otherwise uprooting olive trees and other fruit orchards. Of the 162 complaints, only one ever led to an actual indictment, and settlers continue to believe, quite correctly it seems, that they can attack Palestinians with virtual impunity.”

Settlers Continue to Attack Palestinian Farms, Orchards With Impunity

Allegations of stolen land are as old as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself, particularly in the occupied West Bank. Some settlers are taking this to ridiculous extremes, however, renting tractors and literally stealing dirt by the ton from Palestinian farmers.

To understand how something like this is even possible, we need to look at the meandering Israeli military “barrier of separation” built across the West Bank. In many cases, the giant wall cuts directly through Palestinian-owned lands, leaving a farmer’s home on one side of the wall and his fields on the other, leaving the fields unworked, unguarded.

In these cases, it is trivial for the settlers to “steal land” by the truckfull, and carry it off elsewhere. Practically, it is cheaper than buying fill dirt, and the Israeli military virtually never follows up on complaints from Palestinians

See more:

Even Israeli agency warns of wall’s damage to Battir, historic West Bank village via The Electronic Intifada

Seam Zones Turn 50,000 Palestinians into “Internally Stuck Persons”

Take Action: Free Palestinian farmers and agricultural workers targeted for imprisonment

The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves.

Bill Mollison (via fuckyeahpermaculture)

Worst of the Worst

Monsanto Declared Worst Company of 2011 | Natural SocietyAnthony Gucciardi & Mike BarrettNaturalSociety December 6, 2011 Biotech giant Monsanto has been declared the Worst Company of 2011 by NaturalSociety for threatening both human health and the environment. The leader in genetically modified seeds and crops, Monsanto is currently responsible for 90 percent of the genetically engineered seed on the United States market.

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Why Aren’t G.M.O. Foods Labeled?

Amplify’d from opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work.

In the last three weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered (G.E.) foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol), and  sugar beets. And the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of a super-fast-growing salmon — the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last — may not be far behind.

It’s unlikely that these products’ potential  benefits could possibly outweigh their potential for harm. But even more unbelievable is that the F.D.A.and the U.S.D.A. will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered, because they don’t want to “suggest or imply” that these foods are “different.” (Labels with half-truths about health benefits appear to be O.K., but that’s another story.)

They are arguably different, but more important, people are leery of them. Nearly an entire continent — it’s called Europe — is so wary that G.E. crops are barely grown there and there are strict bans on imports (that policy is in danger). Furthermore, most foods containing more than 0.9 percent G.M.O.’s must be labeled.

G.E. products may grow faster, require fewer pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and reduce stress on land, water and other resources; they may be more profitable to farmers. But many of these claims are in dispute, and advances in conventional agriculture, some as simple as drip irrigation, may achieve these same goals more simply. Certainly conventional agriculture is more affordable for poor farmers, and most of the worlds’ farmers are poor. (The surge in suicides among Indian farmers has been attributed by some, at least in part, to G.E. crops, and it’s entirely possible that what’s needed to feed the world’s hungry is not new technology but a better distribution system and a reduction of waste.)

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