“When the waters had swelled much more upon the earth, all the highest mountains everywhere under the sky were covered.” GENESIS 7:19 (The Israel Bible™)
This verse seems to contradict the assertion that Eretz Yisrael was not affected by the flood. The Ramban, a leading scholar in medieval Spain, solves this contradiction by stating that rain did not fall over the Land of Israel, but nevertheless, as there was no barrier surrounding the land, the flood waters entered the land from the surrounding lands. Even though the land was flooded, the powerful rain did not fall directly on Eretz Yisrael. As a result, the trees were not affected and at the conclusion of the flood, the dove was able to find an olive leaf in bloom. The image of a dove grasping an olive branch has become a symbol of peace. This icon, which emerged at the re-initiation of the world, when God’s anger was quenched and Noach was commanded to continue mankind anew, emerged from the Land of Israel, the land of peace.