“In West Bank Olive Groves, a Harvest of Violence”
The Washington Post, October 24, 2014, p.A8
“The rains have come to wash away the dust of summer from the olives, and so the annual harvest has begun — and with it, another cycle of violence against man and tree. Mohammad Hamoudah and his wife were picking olives in their grove last week when he saw five or six men darting among the trees, their faces hidden by scarves, carrying sticks and shepherd’s crooks. … Hamoudah said his attackers were Jewish settlers; four were later arrested, he said…. More than 80,000 Palestinian farmers derive a substantial portion of their annual income from olives. Harvesting the fruit, pressing the oil, selling and sharing the produce is a ritual of life. Now, so is losing trees. Last year, the United Nations reported that Israeli settlers damaged or destroyed nearly 11,000 olive trees and saplings owned by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The trees were burned, toppled by bulldozers, felled with chain saws. … With the start of the olive harvest this year, Palestinian officials and international monitors have already reported the first incidents: Families chased from their olive grove by settlers slinging rocks. Bags of harvested olives stolen. Hundreds of trees destroyed. … Noa Cohen, a researcher with the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, said her organization tracked a sample of 246 incidents between 2005 and September 2014 after which complaints about attacks in Palestinian olive groves were filed with Israeli police. Only four resulted in indictments.”
Quickie Analysis: These attacks themselves are not news. The extent and scale of the attacks, though, is.