Days of Palestine – Ramallah
Over 9,000 olive trees have been destroyed in the West Bank since August 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) revealed in a statement issued recently.
With the olive harvest season underway, the aid agency has called on Israel to ensure safe, timely, and adequate access for Palestinians to their olive groves in the occupied West Bank.
The ICRC has reported that Israel destroyed more than 9,300 trees in the West Bank between August 2020 and August 2021.
“For years, the ICRC has observed a seasonal peak in violence by Israeli settlers residing in certain settlements and outposts in the West Bank towards Palestinian farmers and their property in the period leading up to the olive harvest season, as well as during the harvest season itself, in October and November,” said Els Debuf, head of the ICRC’s mission in Jerusalem.
“Farmers also experience acts of harassment and violence that aim at preventing a successful harvest, not to mention the destruction of farming equipment or the uprooting and burning of olive trees. This is an important concern that we continue to share with the authorities in charge,” she added.
Jewish settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank, while occupation authorities rarely take action against it.
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Last Tuesday, a group of Jewish settlers uprooted 900 olive and apricot saplings and stole olive crops in the village of Sebastia of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
Marked in October every year, the olive harvest constitutes a critical source of livelihood for thousands of Palestinian families.
With more than 12 million olive trees planted across nearly half of the West Bank’s agricultural land, olive oil is not only central to Palestinian food security but is also a large part of their export economy.