On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Israel on celebrating 75 years of independence, referencing the manifestation of Isaiah’s “desert blooming” prophecy. The Palestinian Authority demanded an apology, claiming the statement was “racist”.
”Dear President Herzog, Dear Friends,” von der Leyen said in the televised address. “75 years ago, a dream was realized with Israel’s Independence Day. After the greatest tragedy in human history, the Jewish People could finally build a home in the promised land. Today, we celebrate 75 years of vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East. 75 years of dynamism, ingenuity and groundbreaking innovations. You have literally made the desert bloom as I could see during my visit to the Negev last year.
“Today, we also celebrate 75 years of friendship between Israel and Europe. We have more in common than geography would suggest. Our shared culture, our values and hundreds of thousands of dual European-Israeli citizens have created a deep connection between us. Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies. Your freedom is our freedom. Happy Birthday to all the People of Israel. Yom Huledet Sameach.”
This is at least the second time the EU official praised Israel for bringing about the blooming of the deserts, as predicted by the Prophet Isaiah.
The arid desert shall be glad, The wilderness shall rejoice And shall blossom like a rose. Isaiah 35:1
In June 2022, von der Leyen visited Israel when Naftali Bennett was the Prime Minister. Her compliment came in the context of dire predictions of food shortages due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“And here, Israel can play a tremendously important role,” she said at the time. “Because you have a unique expertise in innovative, resource-efficient agriculture. I do not have to tell you that the founders of your country have basically made crops spring up from the driest of deserts. You made the desert bloom. Today, the world desperately needs these technologies to really have a shift in what food supply and food security is concerned.”
Her praise is well-earned. Since 1900 roughly 250,000,000 trees have been planted across Israel and it is the only county in the world that ended the 20th century with more trees than it had in 1900. In 1948 roughly 2% of Israel was covered in trees and this has now grown to around 8.5%.
Israel’s practical application of the prophecy has led to Israel becoming a world leader in water, desalination, agriculture, and energy innovation, nicknamed by some as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of water technologies. Israel treats and reuses nearly 90 percent of its water, mostly used in agriculture. An Israeli company, WaterGen, developed the technology to create water from the air. Its innovators were motivated while serving in the IDF and being thirsty inside a tank.
But the Palestinian Authority took umbrage at the EU president ascribing prophetic attributes to Israel, claiming that “making the deserts bloom” was “racist”.
“The State of Palestine rejects the inappropriate, false, and discriminatory remarks by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, particularly the ‘make the desert bloom’ anti-Palestinian racist trope,” the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates declared on Twitter, describing her statements as “propagandist discourse,”
“Likewise, such a narrative perpetuates the continued and racist denial of the Nakba [catastrophe, i.e. Israel’s victory over the invading Arab armies] and whitewashes Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid regime.”
Such adoption of anti-Palestinian rhetoric undermines the European Union’s standing and casts serious doubts on its declared commitment to international law and human rights,” the PA continued.
“President Ursula von der Leyen owes them and the Palestinian people an apology,” the PA ministry demanded.