Israeli settlers escalates their attacks on Palestinian olive groves with the looming of the olive harvest season

Israeli settlers escalates their attacks on Palestinian olive groves with the looming of the olive harvest season
The past month of August 2011, witnessed one of the fiercest attacks on the Palestinian olive groves by the Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Palestinian cultivated lands with fruitful trees, particularly olive trees have always been a favorite choice of the Israeli Army and the Israeli settlers to build the Segregation Wall on or for just mere vandalism. The reason why trees are systematically targeted by the Israeli Army and settlers is because for what it represent to Palestinians; a bond to their lands, their livelihood and a bona fide proof of their indisputable rights to the land.
Olive is one constant crop within the Palestinian society and way of life that is traditionally dependent on agriculture.  Olive groves constitute more than 40.3% of the cultivated area in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 79% of cultivated fruit trees. In August 2011, the Israeli settlers led various attacks on Palestinian olive groves in several of the Palestinian governorates, which eventually ended –at least in the month of August – with the uproot, vandalism, and burning of 722 olive trees  olive trees. It happened as the following:
  • 275 olive trees uprooted and vandalized in Qasra village southeast of Nablus governorate.
  • 40 olive saplings uprooted in Wadi Qana, North West of Deir Istya village in Salfit governorate
  • 50 olive trees uprooted in Wad Abu Al Reesh area, in Beit Ummar, Hebron governorate.
  • 100 olive trees set on fire, in Mukhmas village, southeast of Ramallah governorate.
  • 75 olive trees uprooted in Merah area near Qasra village southeast of Nablus governorate.
  • 32 olive trees set on fire in Kafer Kadoum village in Qalqilyia governorate.  
  • 150 olive trees set on fire in Barta’ Al-Sharkieh village in Jenin governorate.
These attacks are becoming systematic over the years; particularly during the months that precedes the olive harvest season (mid September – early November). Earlier of this year several attacks were carried out by the settlers. In March 2011, the Israeli settlers of Shilo Settlement, and Yash Adam outpost uprooted Olive trees in Qasra Village, South East of Nablus Governorate.
  • Uprooted 200 fruitful olive trees.
  • Damaged and chopped 70 fruitful old olive trees
  • Uprooted 350 small olive trees (that are less than one year), and stolen for the benefit of the Israeli settlements in the area.
In Image 01, Image 02, Image 03, and Image 04 shows some of the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian olive trees and crops.

These systematic Israeli attacks on trees; olive trees in particular does not only intend the land and what it produces but the people and their livelihood; and what makes it worse is that it happens under the very eye and protection of the Israeli Army, hence making the Israeli settlers and Army as described by the international law: “a grave breach” of rights.
The destruction of olive groves and other properties is a fundamental breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Israeli seizure of massive amounts of Palestinian land is a serious violation to Article 147 of the Convention, which clearly prohibits, ‘extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’ According to the Convention, Israeli seizures of Palestinian land, the destruction of olive groves and other agricultural products, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including homes, constitute a ‘grave breach’ of the Convention and should be prosecuted as War Crimes.
The systematic nature of the attacks, and the unwillingness of Israeli Army to address such violence and prosecute those responsible, contributes to the severe consequences on Palestinian communities.  The result has been a brutal and sustained assault on the olive groves and every cultivated land area in the occupied Palestinian territory.
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Categories: Settlers Attacks