Home / news / The olive harvest in Palestine … How it turned from a joyous occasion into an obsession that carries great risks

The olive harvest in Palestine … How it turned from a joyous occasion into an obsession that carries great risks

To the closest distance to his land, the vehicle drove us and then we got off on foot accompanied by farmer Ahmed Odeh (Abu Nidal) the rest of the road for tens of meters to the land in Jabal al-Lahf, amid fear of any surprise attack by settlers and assault on us, as they did recently with Abu Nidal and his brother Sabaa Odeh.

So far, this is the fourth attack on the direct hit by the settlers of “Yitzhar” settlement against Palestinian farmers in the town of Hawara near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank in less than a week. It is the second against the two brothers Odeh, and when the olives are separated after, as for cutting, burning and stealing olive trees The fruits are countless assaults.

Not only in Huwara, as this is the suffering that the Palestinians lived – especially those whose lands were close to the settlements – and they will live it for a month and more from now while they are plucking their olives for this season. The settlers have mobilized and embarked on implementing their plans to pursue the people and expel them from their land.

Abu Nidal, 65, tried – despite his pain – to get us to the quilts land, and as soon as we stepped into the place, he shouted to his brother Sabaa “Shomer … Schumer”, meaning that the settlement guard is coming to attack us, as he did to them two days ago when they went to inspect their olives.

The town of Hawara is topped by the settlement of Yitzhar, whose settlers attack Palestinian farmers and their lands (Al-Jazeera Net)

With or without coordination

Our interlocutor says that minutes after they reached the land, settlers attacked and expelled them under the pretext of not “coordination” (a special permission that the occupation army gives to the citizens) to enter it, as it is close to an Israeli security zone (settlement), which is what Abu Nidal refuses and says is his land and visits it whenever he wants.

Even this coordination did not work. The Israeli soldiers, by force of arms, expelled the citizens last year despite coordination, and they did not allow them to restore some of the trees that were destroyed by the settlers, and these practices will lose them their land and the olive harvest every year, due to their inability to cultivate and weed them.

He added, “If we previously produced a ton or less of oil, today we will not reach less than a quarter of it. The settlers are forcibly crawling toward the land and we hate to retreat.”

The amount of olives is low this season (Al-Jazeera Net)

Abu Nidal and his family own 50 dunums in the land of al-Lahf, close to the settlement of “Yitzhar”, which is perched from 4 decades above it and on the lands of the neighboring villages, which confiscate thousands of dunams of it and deny its owners access to it, turning it into “ruin” and then confiscating it.

Like Abu Nidal, the 58-year-old citizen Muhammad Dhamidi, 58, was deprived of his land and olives as a result of the ambitions of the settlers whom the occupation government is working to serve, by paving a road for them several kilometers long linking their settlements in the south and east of Nablus.

Only three months ago, this was not the case with the old olive trees in the summer cottages of Dhamidi, as he used to be glad of a golden olive season that would free him from the financial constraints and help him to live hard, before he saw from the window of his house his trees fall one after another, under the molars of the Israeli bulldozer And the protection of the occupation soldiers who came fortified by a military decision to confiscate land and others.

Muhammad Dhamidi on his land, from which the occupation cut down 170 olive trees with the aim of constructing a settlement road (Al-Jazeera)

At the expense of the land

Almost tears streaming down from his eyes as he saw the dry olive branches lying on the ground, but his vision of the fresh, fresh branches that burst out from under the dirt and were born from the roots of the dislocated trees, calmed him down and gave him hope, so he started to clean around him while saying to Al Jazeera Net, “We refuse to leave the earth.” And these branches refuse to die. “

Citizen Dhamidi alone lost 170 olive trees and 10 dunams (a dunam = 1000 square meters) out of 60 dunums of his land area. Among the farce – according to his description – that although the occupation gave him and others an opportunity to object to the military decision, “the Israeli court rejected the appeal and rejected it.”

Through this settlement road, Israel was notified of confiscating 406 dunams of Hawara lands, and uproot 4,500 olive trees, but on the ground, it uprooted more than 7 thousand trees and confiscated 700 dunums, according to Nasser Hawari, mayor of the municipality.

Settlers’ attacks this year increased 67% from their peers last year, and doubled their violence during the Corona crisis, according to the official in the settlement file in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Douglas. They also attacked Palestinian homes, wounding them, uprooting and burning about 7,000 olive trees in the West Bank.

Israel preempted the decision to stop coordination between it and the Authority by closing entire areas estimated at 4,000 dunums, calling them “black areas”, and preventing Palestinians and Israelis from entering them from September 17 until the end of this year, which is the period of the olive season, and thus “settler attacks will escalate.” on her.

The “Fazaa” campaign came to help farmers harvest their olives and protect them from settlers (Al-Jazeera)

Freak out

In addition to the lack of coordination, the number of foreign solidarity activists decreased this year due to the Corona virus, which prompted the Palestinians to launch the “Fazaa” campaign, which is a Palestinian word meaning help and aid aimed at helping farmers.

From the village of Hawara where we were, the Fazaa campaign was launched in the presence of foreign solidarity activists and the Popular Resistance Committees, announcing the start of the olive season for this year. Ahmed Al-Khatib, one of the campaign’s coordinators, says that their goal is to provide assistance to farmers and protect them by providing groups of activists that directly assist in harvesting olive crops in the areas in contact with the occupation and settlements, and the residents of the area help them.

Information from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture indicates that this season, production will decline to less than half of the annual general output, which is estimated at 21 thousand tons of oil, which increases the concern of farmers for fear of attacking their trees.

A military tower near the settlement of Yitzhar to monitor any movement of Palestinian citizens (Al-Jazeera)

The director of the olive department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Ramez Obeid, told Al-Jazeera Net that 50 thousand dunums of olive trees are located within the segregation and racial annexation wall adjacent to the settlements, and constitute 6% of the area of ​​land planted with olives in Palestine, and that is why the productivity of these trees is weak due to settler attacks. “This causes the Palestinians to lose 5% of the total oil harvest.”

The Palestinians do not wait for Israeli justice through a court decision that will return their land to them or allow them to enter it. “The demise of Israel” may have become closer to them than that, as they say, and until then they will continue building and visiting their lands despite all the harassment from the occupation soldiers and settlers.




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