Every year the olive season brings with it an atmosphere of happiness and optimism to Palestinian farmers. And every year since its inception the Occupation replaces this atmosphere with one of depression and anger. Each year becomes progressively worse, bringing with it renewed attacks from settler gangs and the confiscation and isolation of thousands of dunums by the Apartheid Wall. We are now at the end of the season and our farmers have gone daily to their lands fearing attacks from Occupation forces or settlers.
***image6***The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign launched a national campaign this season in support of Palestinian farmers. The Campaign also set up a monitoring system in villages located near settlements or the Apartheid Wall in an effort to document any aggression or attack by Occupation forces or its settlers. This is critical, as an extensive media campaign has been waged, falsely claiming that the Occupation will âprotectâ Palestinian farmers and/ or minimize the nightmarish procedures at the Apartheid Wall gates.
Despite propaganda stating the contrary, the fact remains that almost all the attacks on Palestinian farmers were carried out under the watch, and in some cases by Occupation forces. Hundreds of settlers launched attacks against the Palestinian farmers, beating them with sharp tools and/or stealing harvested olives. When Israeli âprotectionâ arrives, farmers are removed and then forbidden access to these lands for a few days.
Attacks are also carried out by Occupation forces in the northern part of the West Bank, especially near the Apartheid Wall terminals in Tulkarem, Salfit, Qalqiliya and Jenin. The nature of the attacks vary; Palestinians are delayed at terminals and are often barred from passing through. Occupation forces also destroy olives collected by the farmers.
Below is a short summary of the attacks on farmers:
Attacks on farmers:
October 26th: Settlers from Gilaad settlements attacked the Palestinian farmers of Fartaa village in west of Qalqiliya city. This attack occurred during the day, and while Palestinian farmers were in their lands collecting olives, tens of settlers attacked the farmers with sharp tools and sticks. Many farmers were injured and hospitalized. Among those injured was Salah Ibrahim Musa, who seriously hurt when he was beaten on the head.
October 26th: Another gang from the Ramat Shy settlement attacked a Palestinian farmer, Hashem Al-Ezaa, and his family while they were collecting olives in Tel Al-Rumaida in Hebron.
October 28th: Armed settlers from Elkana settlement attacked farmers form Al-Zawiya village, west Salfit city. Ismail Shokair and his family were collecting olives when those settlers attacked them. A fistfight started and the settlers called the Occupation forces. When the soldiers arrived, they kicked out Ismail and his family and forbade on them from returning to the land.
Qaryut is a village south-east of Nablus city and close to the Eli settlement. For two days, settlers from Eli attacked farmers collecting their olives east of the village. 41-year-old Wael Mohammad Moqbil was beaten unconscious. On the second day Afifa Ali Moqbil, 70 years old, and Mohammad Ahmad, 20 years old, were both badly beaten by the settlers and subsequently taken for medical care.
Elon Moreh settlers attacked the farmers of Azmut village east of Nablus city. They fired live bullets in the air, broke ladders and destroyed all the equipment used by the farmers to collect their olives. At the end they forced the farmers out of their lands at gunpoint.
6- Tal Al-Romaida:
November 12th: In Hebron city settlers from Ramat Shy settlements attacked the farmers in the early hours of the day. Palestinian farmers were trying to collect olives from an area of 50 dunums between Al- Qaryut to the Islamic cemetery when they were attacked. Along with the farmers, municipal sanitation workers, employees and school children were attacked.
November 5th: A military vehicle blocked the tens of Tel farmers who were returning home with their olives. The Occupation then began throwing the olives on the ground and cut open four bags of olives with their knives. Farmers tried to collect the olives from ground but Occupation forces stopped them and crushed many of the olives
Theft of Olives:
There were many reports from farmers about settlers stealing their olives. Thefts are carried out in two ways: olives are stolen in direct attacks by settlers, such as the attacks on Qaryut, Fartaa, Azmut and Tel. Also, olives are stolen while farmers are forbidden from reaching their lands or during the gate closures. Many such cases were documented:
– Karma and Yatta, South Hebron: 90% of the olives were collected by the settlers of Otniâel.
– Hebron City: Ramat Shy launched many attacks and also stole olives, especially from Hashim Al-Izaa who was beaten earlier by a settler gang.
– Qaryut: Theft of collected olives by Eli settlers.
– Burin: Farmers were shocked that all their olives were stolen by Yizhar & Bracha settlers, while Occupation forces blocked the farmers reaching their lands.
– Sawiya: The Palestinian farmers from Sawiya, east Salfit city, could not collect their olives after Rehelim Settlers pumped sewage water on the farmerâs lands. This caused tens of olive trees to dry up and die. Most of the trees were owned by Abu-Rass and Owda families.