***image2***As the olive season begins, so too do settler attacks on Palestinians attempting to harvest their produce.
In Farta village, east Qalqiliya, a gang of fifty settlers, mainly from the nearby settlement of Jilad, attacked farmers, first firing bullets into the air to intimidate them and then physically attacking them.
When farmers refused to stop harvesting their olives, the settlers attacked with clubs, stones and sharp tools, resulting in hand-to-hand fighting with the farmers.
Five farmers were injured. One, Basel Ibrahim Salah had to be taken to hospital in a critical condition after being hit in the head with a sharp object.
Later in the day, Occupation forces arrived, forcing farmers to leave the land and return to the village. Three farmers, Ahhmad Abdula Hassan, Bahjat Salman and Hamoud Bashir Dawoud, were arrested, accused of attacking the settlers.
When the farmers had been driven back to the village, settlers stole eight of the ten sacks of olives that had been harvested earlier in the day. The remaining two were found destroyed Ã¢â¬â all olives inside them were damaged.
Scores of Palestinian farmers across the the West Bank have been assaulted in the last week.