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Chopped branch, documented by settlers Photo: Shomron Settlers' Committee
Chopped branch, documented by settlers Photo: Shomron Settlers' Committee

Settlers vs. Palestinians: Who took down olive trees?

Settlers who documented Palestinians cutting down olive trees claim that Palestinians did so in attempt to put blame on settlers; Palestinians: It's a lie

Itamar Fleishman
Published: 10.16.12, 00:59 / Israel News

Palestinian farmers who filed complaints on Monday, stating that olive trees in their possession were chopped down, were documented earlier as they were felling olive trees. The complainants claim that the trees they were cutting were growing in a different plot from the one in question.


Recently, as the olive-picking season reached its height, both Palestinians and settlers were constantly filing complaints in regards to felling olive trees and robbing crops.


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Against the backdrop of mounting tensions, some conflicts even escalated into physical clashes, specifically in Hebron and Binyamin, with neither settlers nor Palestinians able to submit evidence to support their claims.


On Monday afternoon, a group of settlers noticed Palestinians chopping down trees and hurried to the scene equipped with video cameras. They managed to document parts of the felling, and proceeded to distribute their evidence.



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The settlers' documentation of olive trees being cut down

A few hours later, the B'Tselem human rights group announced that 11 olive trees cut down by unknown perpetrators were found.


According to the settlers, who have recently started to send out activists with cameras in search of proof, the grove in question is the same grove that they have documented. To them, that served as evidence that the Palestinians were trying to falsely accuse settlers of felling.


"Only yesterday we called on the public to carry video cameras with them, and a day later a provocation of staging the uprooting of olive trees was documented," Shomron Settlers' Committee head Benny Katzover said.


The Palestinians, however, insist that the trees that the settlers documented are not the same ones that the farmers claim were felled. Ismail, one of the farmers who were caught on the settlers' video, told Ynet: "The settlers are just slandering us; we were trimming our trees and tending to them, but those that were chopped down are in a different plot, farther away. We saw we were being filmed."


The B'Tselem group also dismissed the accusations, insisting that the grove that was documented is not the one about which the complaint was filed.



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