Another violent incident between settlers and Palestinian olive pickers: Residents of the West Bank village of Kadum claimed to have been attacked by residents of the Kedumim settlement as they arrived at their olive grove Sunday morning.
According to the Palestinians, some 10 settlers assaulted them with stones. An IDF force dispatched to the area removed the olive pickers.
Mohammed Shatiwi, head of the Kafr Kadum council, who also arrived at the olive grove, told Ynet that the soldiers were not doing a thing to stop the stone throwing by the settlers.
"They only want to evacuate us from the area claiming that we did not coordinate our arrival with them. We have no plan to evacuate and will continue to harvest our olives," he said.
Asked why the harvest was not coordinated with the IDF, Shatiwi replied, "They drive us crazy until they give us approval. We have not been given approval till now since the beginning of the season, and judging from last year's experience, their coordination is given for a much later date when it already rains and the olives are damaged."
Kafr Kadum residents said that last year the approval was given after the harvest season had already ended, and when the olive pickers arrived at the grove they discovered that the olives had been stolen from the trees, allegedly by settlers.
Shatiwi said that he had discovered that olives belonging to him, his neighbors and his relatives were stolen from another part of the village, near the outpost of Shvut Ami.
"We discovered that the ladders were use for the harvest, the sheets we use to collect the olives and sacks of olives, were all stolen by the settlers. Instead of investigating this, they are only busy trying to evacuate us."
Soldiers and olive pickers (Photo: CIBB)
Residents of Kafr Kadum and the surrounding area said that the officer responsible for granting the approvals for the olive picking has taken a holiday vacation and will only return after Simchat Torah.
"The farmers cannot wait until the honorable officer returns from the holidays. The olives on the trees do not understand that there is a holiday break. The settlers are also taking advantage of the fact that we are not allowed to enter and are celebrating with our olives," one of the farmers told Ynet.
The Judea and Samaria police said in response that Palestinians had filed a complaint with the Kadum station, claiming that their ladders, sheets and harvest equipment were stolen. An investigation has been launched into the case.
An IDF source told Ynet that "this is an area of conflict with the settlers, and therefore the Palestinians are asked to coordinate the harvest in advance." The official added that the army and the Palestinians have coordinated an olive harvest for next week.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report