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Feature: Settlers' assaults in West Bank obstruct olives picking again

English.news.cn   2012-10-08 05:46:41            

RAMALLAH, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Right after Jom'aa Abu Fkheida and his family members had hardly managed to escape from Israeli settlers' truculent dogs, which tried to attack them in Ras Karkar village near Ramallah, an Israeli army force blockaded them for several hours under their olive trees.

Abu Fkheida's land is only 5,000 square meters cultivated with olive trees and located in area C in the West Bank that is under the full Israeli security control. According to Oslo peace accords signed in 1993, the West Bank was divided into areas A, B and C.

"While my children and I were on our way to our farm to pick up the olives, Jewish settlers backed by dogs attacked us, prevented us from picking olives and asked us to immediately leave the area, " Abu Fkheida, whose farm is adjacent to "Merna" Jewish settlement outside Ramallah, told Xinhua.

He said that when he refused to leave the area, "the settlers asked their truculent dogs to attack us. We ran away until an Israeli army force had stopped us, and forced us to sit on our knees under the olive trees for several hours without allowing us to talk."

Abu Fkheida and his family expected that the Israeli army would protect them from the settlers' assaults, "but what happened is that the soldiers prevented us from talking and accused us of trying to attack the settlers after we had a hand combat with them. "

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank has repeatedly warned of escalating the settlers' attacks on 2.7 million Palestinians living in the territory which had been occupied by Israel in 1967.

In the West Bank, there are more than half a million settlers living in 120 settlements.

"We have been planting this land with olives for hundreds of years and we inherited it from our ancestors," said Abu Fkheida, who said one of the Israeli soldiers accused him of trying to drive over one of the settlers by his car, "an alleged accusation that had never happened aimed at keeping us silent."

After several hours, the Israeli soldiers let them go, Abu Fkheida said, adding that "the following day, we went back to check our farm and we were shocked to find out that our olive trees were all cut and uprooted. Our life turned into torment. Every season every year, they prevent us from picking up our olives."

For the Palestinians in the West Bank, every October is the season of olives picking, however, groups of settlers calling themselves "the youths of the hills" attack the farmers and destroy their olive trees to "cause the largest damage and oblige them to desert their lands," according to the farmers.

Other farmers living in southern West Bank's Hebron area said the Israeli soldiers fire at them with tear gas to prevent them from picking their olives, adding that settlers from the Ma'oun settlement chased them and prevented them from reaching their olives farms in the east of Hebron.

Farmers from the village of Kofor Qadoom near Qalqilia town in northern West Bank said that several Israeli settlers attacked them as they were on their ways to their farms to pick up olives in the area adjacent to the main road that links Qalqilia with the city of Nablus amid the Israeli army presence.

According to PNA officials, the Israeli settlers on Friday destroyed 100 olives trees and 20 grapes trees in the area between the settlement of Etzion and Jerusalem in the West Bank. Israeli and Palestinian right groups watched the settlers' behavior and documented their violations.

Eyad Haddad, a researcher in the Israeli right group Bet Selem, told Xinhua that the settlers' attacks on the Palestinians are still going on, adding that "it is part of what the settlers call paying the price. What happened to Abu Fkheida's farm shows that the settlers are well-protected by the Israeli soldiers."

"Our group follows all these assaults and we always call on the Israeli government to punish the attackers," Haddad said, reminding that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had last year promised that the Israeli army would facilitate the season of olives picking for the Palestinians.

Ghassan Daghlass, a Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the PNA, told Xinhua that "Unfortunately, the settlers' assaults on the Palestinians in the West Bank are backed by the Israeli government and it is planed to terrify the farmers and oblige them not to approach their farms."

He said the PNA put a plan to the farmers this year called " reaching the tree even it is planted in a settlement," adding that "the plan, which was prepared by popular corporations and Palestinian political factions, aims at protecting the farmers from the settlers' assaults."

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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