CMEP Bulletin: Violence Surrounds West Bank Olive Harvest
weekly CMEP update
Harvest seaon begins with violence
Every autumn, Palestinian farmers harvest olives from the trees in their groves, many of which go back decades. In recent years, these farmers have faced settler violence and intimidation in order to pick their olives, a crop that brought $100 million into the Palestinian economy in 2010 and sustains many families in the West Bank.
According to Rabbis for Human Rights, “Every year at this time Palestinian farmers from a number of villages across the West Bank receive threats to their safety, are denied access to their land or have their olives stolen, their trees poisoned, or even cut down altogether.” Last year, The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that over 2,500 olive trees were destroyed in September 2011, and 7,500 throughout 2011.
There were several attacks believed to be carried out by settlers during this first week of the harvest. Human rights groups are monitoring olive groves near Israeli settlements and documenting attacks by settlers.