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The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces beat elderly Palestinian man after picking olives from his own land

Olive harvesting season is important for Palestinians [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2020

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Muhammad Salibi, 77, was beaten by Israeli forces who ordered him to leave his own land and stop picking his olives.
Israeli soldiers attacked an elderly Palestinian man as he picked olives on his land in Beit Ummar, north of the West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli soldiers ordered Muhammad Salibi, 77 to leave the area as he harvested olives on his land, close to the illegally built settlement of Beit Ain.

After Salibi ignored their instructions, the Israeli soldiers beat him with their rifles and forced him off the land, according to media reports.

Israel often bans Palestinian farmers from accessing their own land if it lies close to illegal settlements, which are built across the occupied West Bank.

Read also: Palestine's olive harvest marred by rising Israeli settler violence

Many Palestinian farmers rely on the annual olive harvesting season for income.

In addition to attacking farmers, Israeli settlers commonly vandalise Palestinian olive farms by setting fire to orchids and poisoning trees.

Last month, the World Council of Churches (WCC) launched a global initiative stressing the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive season for Palestinians.

The Christian council in a statement condemned Israel for attacks on Palestinian farmers. 

"The olive harvest is highly significant for the Palestinian communities of the West Bank. It brings people together in a joyful and festive mood around one of their most important traditional sources of income. Harvesting under safe and peaceful conditions is critical for the lives and livelihoods of Palestinian farmers and their families," the WCC General Secretary Ioan Sauca said.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967, committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians. 

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

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