Sunday, October 21, 2012

Settler attacks on Palestinian farmers harvesting olives continue unabated

Olive Trees Destroyed in Al-Mughayer - October 2012
Destroyed olive trees in Al-Mughayyer, October 2012
The Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq reports:
 Each year, the olive harvest in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) is characterised by settlers attacks which severely impact upon the livelihood and safety of Palestinian farmers. Since the beginning of October, Al-Haq has documented the destruction, burning, uprooting or damaging of at least 747 olive trees and more than 29 farmers have been attacked by Israeli settlers. Most of the incidents are concentrated in the areas of Nablus, Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron in proximity to the Annexation Wall or Israeli settlements and outposts. Between January and mid-October 2012, more than 7,500 olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank were damaged or destroyed by Israeli settlers. Between 8 and 14 October, Al-Haq recorded 14 settler attacks related to the olive harvest.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UN OCHA), the olive oil industry currently supports the livelihoods of an estimated 80,000 Palestinian families, a decrease of 20 per cent compared to 2011. Thousands of Palestinian farmers are prevented from accessing their land by the Israeli military for most of the year, and as such are often unable to cultivate or harvest their olive crop. Farmers are often allowed access to their land for only very short periods of time, which sometimes come too late in the season, to harvest their olive crop.

Al Haq continues with the almost unbelievable story of the farmer Jawad Thabet Abu ‘Eisheh from Hebron whose olives were stolen by settlers. The military came to the aid of the settlers and stopped him from filing a complaint.

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