Israeli settlers begin attacks on Palestinian olive farmers
Palestinian farmers rely on the annual olive harvesting season for income. Israeli settlers commonly vandalise Palestinian olive farms in a deliberate attempt to stifle their revenue, commonly by setting fire to olive farms and poisoning the trees.
This week, Palestinian farmers were attacked and hundreds of their crops have been destroyed across the occupied West Bank; notably in the areas of Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Salfit.
At least three Palestinians on Friday were injured today when occupying Israeli forces attacked farmers and volunteers joining them in harvesting olives in the village of Burqa, to the east of Ramallah.
Minister Walid Asssaf, Chairman of the Apartheid Wall and Colonization Resistance Commission, told Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA that soldiers fired rubber-coated rounds, teargas canisters and stun grenades at the farmers and activists.
On Wednesday, settlers vandalised 300 olive trees in the al-Jabaa village in occupied Bethlehem.
On Monday, settlers stole the olive harvest of a Palestinian farmer in the village of Burin to the south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Earlier this month, Israeli settlers also torched an olive grove in to Deir Ballut town, west of Salfit.
Israeli violence against olive farmers is condemned annually as attacks continue.
Earlier this week, 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 its attacks against Palestinians.
"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," says interim WCC general secretary Ioan Sauca.
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally 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.