Photo: AP
Mazuz: Tree-cutting a terrible phenomenon
Photo: AP

Mazuz: Jewish lawlessness unpunished

Attorney general says resources must be allocated to tackle uprooting of Palestinian trees

Some 2,400 olive trees have been uprooted in Palestinian orchards recently, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said at a cabinet meeting Sunday, charging that authorities are failing to tackle Jewish lawlessness in the West Bank. 


This is a severe phenomenon, which gives a sense of anarchy, and the impression that violence goes unpunished, Mazuz told government members.


Palestinian villager and uprooted trees (Photo: AFP)


"The uprooting of trees represents part of a wider phenomenon – the lack of proper law enforcement when it comes to Jews in Judea and Samaria," he added.


Several days ago, Palestinians from the West Bank village of Yatta complained to police that 100 olive trees in their orchards were uprooted by settlers from the region.


The Yesha Council, meanwhile, denied the allegations and asked the IDF Central Command chief to order a comprehensive investigation into the case, in a bid to identify the offenders responsible for the tree-cutting.


"As settlers and farmers, we strongly condemn any act to harm trees. Our way advocates building and planting, not demolishing and uprooting," a Yesha Council official said in response.


During the cabinet meeting, Mazuz stated he has already contacted the Central Command chief, the police commissioner, and the interior minister several times regarding the matter.


'Terrible phenomenon'


Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who has already addressed the issue last week, said the acts in question represented a serious phenomenon that should be dealt with, adding that a special task force will be formed to battle the problem.


Mazuz stressed he will not "accept the explanation there are not enough resources to tackle the issue. This is a matter of priorities, and the State cannot afford not to allocate funds for this. Everybody must join in to fight this terrible phenomenon."


The attorney general further stated that the offenders must be apprehended and brought to trial, and that the state should consider compensating Palestinians hurt by the uprooting, as well as pressing civil lawsuits against offenders.


Notably, a decision on petition submitted in 2004 by the Association for Civil Right in Israel and the Rabbis for Human Rights organization to the High Court regarding "the government's and the IDF's failure to protect the Palestinian farmers," is still pending.


The organizations demanded that the court order Israel to protect the Palestinian farmer and requested that the State operate to end settler harassment.


Ronny Sofer contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.08.06, 18:29
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