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Jean Mudge Productions: Films, Videos & Books About Historic America



Led by three Middle East experts, a group of 22 Americans concerned about the conflict in Israel/Palestine volunteered to plant olive trees in the fields of four Palestinian farmers near Bethlehem in February 2008. They also sought to discover how Israel is using 7 billion U.S. tax dollars annually, and to see effective actions for peace from both sides. The YMCA of Jerusalem and the YWCA of Palestine hosted them in a program called KEEP HOPE ALIVE. The planting of olive trees replaces over a million trees destroyed by Israel since its War for Independence sixty years ago. It helps farmers reclaim land arbitrarily taken by the Israeli Occupation for continued settlement, violating historic U.N. resolutions and recent agreements between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the U.S.

Boy Planted in Palestine - treesOlive tree

The Americans – with a handful of internationals – planted over 750 trees. They also met with diverse Israelis and Palestinians: a native Israeli peacenik and a settler from Chicago, leading NGO officers, and spiritual and religious leaders. Traveling east to the Jordan Valley, the group learned how the early Jews died defending their desert fortress of Masada, instead of surrendering to the Romans, the Occupation of their day. After visiting the Sea of Galilee and sites central in Jesus’ ministry, the Americans headed for Nazareth and Galilee proper, at Ibillin visiting a thriving ecumenical complex of schools for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian youth. The travelersí appreciation of both Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints gives viewers a basis to develop a similar in-depth understanding of this contended land. (45 min.)

Planting olive trees Olive tree Boy

— Producer, Director, Writer – Jean Mudge
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