The constant Israeli targeting of Palestinian agriculture and livelihoods in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The constant Israeli targeting of Palestinian agriculture and livelihoods in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Over the years, the constant attacks and violence committed by the Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) have cost Palestinians their lives as well as economic losses much of which on the agricultural level, which is perceived by the Israeli governments and settlers as a prime target as it represent a tie between the people and the land that they are desperately trying to break. The Israeli settlers have always induced violent acts against Palestinians by attacking their properties, burning their fields, razing and destroying their agriculture lands, uprooting their trees, occupying their lands and properties and preventing Palestinian landowners from accessing their lands to cultivate them.
During the latter half of this month, April 2010, the Israeli settlers escalated their aggressive violations against Palestinian residents and their properties where they uprooted more than 550 Olive trees in Nablus and Ramallah Governorates.
Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees
On April 20, 2010, a herd of Israeli settlers from the Illegal Israeli nearby outpost of Hayovel , attacked local Palestinian residents’ lands of Qaryut village south of Nablus city and uprooted 250 Olive seedlings that were cultivated by residents of the village in late March 2010. Mr. Abdul Naser Al Qaryouti, Mayor of Qaryut village indicated that this is not the first time that Israeli settlers of the nearby Illegal Israeli outpost (Hayovel) had uprooted Olive trees in the village. He also added that most  often the Israeli Occupation Forces protecting the herds of the Israeli settlers during their attacks.
Moreover, in the village of Mikhmas southeast of Ramallah Governorate, more than 300 Olive trees were uprooted on the night between the 14th and 15th of April 2010, by Israeli settlers of the Illegal nearby Israeli outpost of Migron.  

Map 1: The Migron Outpost
Owners of the targeted lands Mr. ‘Ali ‘Aref and Mr. ‘Omran ‘Ali As- Sa’eed indicated that their uprooted Olive groves had been uprooted and destructed in a well-organized raid, since it needs groups of settlers to uproot the 300 Olive trees in few hours in the night using their bare hands. They also added that this was the third time that settlers of Migron outpost uprooted their Olive trees in light of the absence of any deterrent from the Israeli Occupation Authorities.
Mikhmas is a small village in Ramallah Governorate, populated by 2,353 residents (PCBS 2010). It is bordered by Burqa and Deir Dibwan villages from the north, Jaba’ and the Illegal Israeli settlement of Sh’ar Benyamin and the outpost of Migron to the south, Ma’ale Mikhmas Illegal settlement from northeast and the Illegal Israeli settlement of Kochav Yaakov to the west.
It is worth mentioning that the Olive oil production constitutes a major source of income for residents of Mikhmas village where they produce more than 1000 Olive oil cans per year. (Mikhmas village council, 2010)
Commencing Wall constructions in Al Walajeh Village northwest of Bethlehem city
On April 22, 2010, the Israeli Army bulldozers protected by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stationed at Al Walajeh village northwest of Bethlehem Governorate in the southern parts of the city of Jerusalem, and uprooted more than 100 Olive and other fruit trees to continue the construction of the Israeli Segregation Wall in the area which stretches through the village’s lands.  The uprooted trees are owned by local residents: Mr. ‘Abed ‘Ali Hajajleh, Mr. Mousa Rabah, Mr. Mohammad Rabah, Mr. Haitham Mohammad ‘Ali Rabah. See pictures below:
Map 2: The Israeli SEgregation Wall plan in Al Walajeh Village
New Israeli halt-of-construction Orders in Halhul Town north of Hebron City
In Halhul town which is located in the northern parts of Hebron Governorate, the Israeli Occupation Forces handed over four local residents military orders notifying them that their three houses and a water reservoir will be demolished under the pretext of lacking building permits due to their location in areas classified as ‘C’ areas according to Oslo II Interim agreement of September 1995, which falls under the full Israeli control. Following are the names of house owners who were targeted by the demolition orders:
  • Mr. Dirar Mahmud Al ‘Arja
  • Mr. Mohammad Mahmud Al ‘Arja
  • Ahmad Sa’eed Al Za’amreh
The water reservoir is owned by:
  • Mohammad Ismail Yousef Al Za’amreh
Halhul is a town in Hebron Governorate, located 6 km north of Hebron city in the southern part of the West Bank. It is bordered by Sa’ir and Ash Shyoukh villages to the east, Beit Ummar and Al ‘Arrub towns to the north, Kharas and Nuba to the west, Hebron city and Beit ‘Einun to the south. According to the 2010 Central Bureau of Statistics Census (PCBS), the total population of Halhul town is 27,783 residents, and constitutes 4% of the total population of Hebron Governorate. See Map 3

The Geopolitical divisions of Halhul town:-
According to the Oslo IIInterim Agreement of 1995 which was signed between Israeli and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) on September 24, 1995, the Palestinian territory was divided into areas A, B and C. In Area A, the Palestinian Authority have complete autonomy over administrative and security issues; where in area B, the Palestinians have only civil responsibilities; and in Area C, Israel has full control over the area which constitutes 61% of the total West Bank area. Accordingly, Halhul town lands were classified into areas ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’. But in area ‘C’, any Palestinian building, construction and land utilization is forbidden in as it is compulsory for Palestinians to go to the Israeli Civil Administration in order to obtain building permits. Due to the rigid Israeli building license policy imposed on Palestinian residents living in areas classified as ‘C’,  Palestinians went on and built in area ‘C’ without licenses, to cope with the natural growth of the population. Table 1 below is the land classification of Halhul town according to Oslo II Interim Agreement:
Table 1: Land Classification of Halhul town according to Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995
Land Classification
% form the Village Area
Area A
Area  B
Area c
Source: The geographical Information System, ARIJ 2010
To Conclude
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) didn’t only target the Palestinian population and their properties in the OPT, but they also unleashed the Israeli settlers to seize and destroy the Palestinian lands and properties from the far north of the West Bank to its far south, where they daily launch systematic ruthless attacks on Palestinian civilians: farmers, students, shepherds, children, elders and women, in addition to their aggressive attacks on the properties such as: houses, agriculture lands, groves, trees, sheep, cars and farms, which reflects their brutal behavior of devastation where they became ‘destruction machines” and turned the daily life of the Palestinian population all over the OPT to an ever-lasting hell!
The Israeli targeting of the Palestinian population lands and properties which is carried out either by the Israeli Occupation forces or at the hands of the Illegal Israeli settlers are unjustified and are considered as fatal violation to all of the International law rules and conventions such as:
  • Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of, December 10, 1948, Article 17 reads: ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’ Which means it bans Israel from destroying or confiscating the property of the Palestinians at any case.
  • In addition, the uprooting of the trees is a clear violation of Article 23 of The Hague Convention, which provides that: ‘it forbidden to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, ‘unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war’. 
  • Land Leveling and property destruction carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces violate the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and is a war crime under the convention and the protocols additional to the convention, where article 147 & 53 of the Convention indicated that: Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, is a grave breach of the Convention.
[1]  The Israeli outpost of Hayovel was established in 1998 on lands of Qaryout village south of Nablus Governorate. The outpost is a home to 88 Illegal Israeli settlers.
[2] The Israeli outpost of Migron was established in 2002 on the lands of Deir Dibwan village east of Ramallah Governorate. The outpost is a home to 322 Illegal Israeli settlers.
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Categories: Agriculture