The battle between Palestinians and Israeli settlers within the West Bank over land is usually visually evident throughout the annual fall olive harvesting season. Land possession exterior main cities is usually legitimized by fruit-bearing timber. Olives are used for oil, pickles, and even for making cleaning soap, all essential options within the Palestinian financial system. Palestinian landowners can not do all of the harvesting, so native and typically worldwide volunteers provide assist. In some faculty districts, college students are given days off for the harvesting season. Palestinian college college students are given voluntary credit score hours for serving to throughout this season.
Well-known Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour informed Al-Monitor that since 1967 the olive tree turned the image of Palestinian identification. “It represents steadfastness of the Palestinian people who are able to live under difficult circumstances in the same way that the tree can survive and has deep roots in their land so do the Palestinian people.” Mansour additionally mentioned that parallel to this steadfastness the olive tree is a logo of peace.
However, Israeli settlers have yearly used this season to try to disrupt the harvest, stealing the produce, slicing down timber, and even initiating fires. In latest years these crimes have been nicely documented — and the Israeli military both turns a blind eye or on some events joins the settlers.
The scenario has develop into so troublesome that UN particular coordinator Tor Wennseland informed the UN Security Council on Oct. 19 that together with the beginning of the olive harvesting season every week in the past, settlers have been systematically destroying olive timber. “Reports say that settlers ruined 1,200 olive trees, and on Oct. 15, 40 settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Yasouf north of Salfit in the West Bank causing the injury of a woman and three children,” Wennesland mentioned.
Dana Mills, spokesperson for Peace Now, informed Al-Monitor that her group is shocked by the “exponential rise in settler violence, including the rise of attacks on person and property during harvest season, as well as consequent lack of law enforcement and retribution from Israeli authorities.” Peace Now, she mentioned, is engaged on a brand new report on settler violence which is able to think about the assaults on olive groves, orchards, and different violence throughout harvest season. “Our activists will be joining a solidarity action and helping in the olive harvest later in the autumn.”
Dror Sadot, spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, informed Al-Monitor that settlers’ violence towards Palestinians has lengthy since develop into a part of day by day life within the West Bank. “Thousands of testimonies, videos, and reports, as well as many years of close monitoring by B’Tselem and other organizations, reveal that Israeli security forces not only allow settlers to harm Palestinians and their property as a matter of course — they often provide the perpetrators’ escort and backup,” he said. “In some cases, they even join in on the attack.”
Sadot informed Al-Monitor that throughout the harvest season, the Israeli authorities declare that they may assist Palestinian farmers however in actuality, they don’t. “Violent actions of settlers against Palestinians are not exceptions to a rule. … Over time, this unchecked violence is gradually driving Palestinians from more and more locations in the West Bank, making it easier for the state to take over land and resources.”
Following the broadly distributed movies exhibiting Israeli troopers’ lenience towards settlers, Benny Gantz, Israel’s protection minister, made a basic assertion opposing any violence in opposition to Palestinians and Israelis. But Israeli member of Knesset Sami Abu Shehadeh doubted that the Israeli authorities has the desire to cease the settlers.
“If there was no political and military support to those racist individuals, these attacks would not have continued all this period,” Abu Shehadeh told Arab News. “This protection is a green light enabling the continuation and the escalation of these barbaric attacks by the Jewish settlers.”
Anees Sweidan, deputy mayor of Nablus, informed Al-Monitor that the Israeli military stopped an effort to assist Palestinian landowners. Nablus had begun to pave components of the highway connecting areas east of town with the village of Assera al-Shamieh to assist Palestinians defend their land from settler assaults, however the Israeli military stopped them, saying that the highway comes “too close to a military installation.”
The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlement launched the “Protectors of the Land” marketing campaign, and the Agricultural Relief Committee additionally launched its annual volunteer marketing campaign beneath the slogan, “We are with you to help farmers harvest olives in areas threatened by settlement and the apartheid wall in the West Bank.”
In response to the common looting and arson assaults, Palestinians plant round 10,000 new olive timber within the West Bank every year, most of that are oil-producing varieties.
In 2019, about 177,000 tons of olives have been pressed, producing 39,600 tons of olive oil, based on the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.