Tovah Lazaroff
The Jerusalem Post
October 5, 2008 - 8:00pm

IDF officials have met figures in the Palestinian Authority to coordinate passage of Palestinian farmers through the security barrier so that they can harvest their olive trees located on the Israeli side.

"As part of these preparations, meetings have been held between Civil Administration personnel and their Palestinian colleagues," the IDF said in a statement. "The meetings included representatives of the various villages in the region, as well as important figures from the PA including [officials from] the Olive Oil Department."

In advance of the olive harvest, which runs from October through December, Israel has issued 3,000 permits to Palestinians so they can pass through the barrier; the gates will also be open for longer hours.

In certain cases, access to restricted areas will need to be coordinated with the IDF and the Civil Administration.

To prevent friction between settlers and the Palestinians, Israeli access to some areas where the olive groves are located will also be restricted.

In past years, Palestinians and the left-wing organizations that work with them during the harvest have complained about restrictions that have kept the farmers from working their land at this time.

According to Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, the situation has vastly improved in the last few years. But already this year, he said, in the first few days of the harvest, security forces have been limiting Palestinian access in areas where access had been granted last year.


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