Ali Waked
October 6, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3965619,00.html

Palestinians and settlers continue to clash over olive picking in the West Bank: The residents of a Palestinian village adjacent to Ramallah claimed that settlers trespassed onto their lands and picked their olive trees.

The Palestinians also claimed they took pictures of the perpetrators during the act, reported official Israeli sources that confirmed the allegations.

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On Sunday, activists from Yesh Din human rights organization visited the village ahead of the olive picking season.

While touring the area with the land owners, the activists spotted what they claimed was a group of settlers from Adi-Ad outpost, who were picking the residents' olive trees.

Settler in blue shirt near olive tree (Photo: Firas Alami, Yesh Din)

The head of the village and Yesh Din activists said they contacted the Palestinian and Israeli District Coordination Offices and asked them to interfere in the settlers' activities, but claimed an IDF patrol vehicle arrived at the scene only an hour later – after the settlers had already dispersed.

According to the Palestinians, these incidents have been repeating frequently, with settlers using a new method in which they pick the olives themselves.

Palestinian farmers complained to human rights organizations that the olive-harvest dates set by the IDF and the Civil Administration harmed the harvest and allowed settlers to organize ahead of time and continue picking olives from areas that do not belong to them.

The Binyamin Settlers' Committee stated in response, "The Arabs' lies appear around the same time as the olive harvest each year. It is a regular ritual orchestrated by the Arabs with the help of leftist organizations who visit their villages during these months and assist them.

"The fact is that it is the Arabs who destroy the Jewish plantations, uproot and burn them, and even use them as a hideout from which they carry out terror activities. Although the leftist organizations equip them with thousands of cameras, not a single Jew was documented damaging the Arabs' trees up until today," read the statement.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017