Ez a-Din Hamdan. A little more pleased
Photo: Ali Waked

Kfar Salem harvests olives: Settler harasser no-show

Every year an anonymous settler would damage olive trees in Kfar Salem grove. Since they did not know his name, village called him Gideon. But this year, IDF is keeping the settlers away and harvest is underway

In recent years the main concern of the farmers from the village of Salem near Nablus was a settler they christened as Gideon. They didn't know who he was, but every year he would come to the olive groves, wreak havoc on them and assault Palestinian farmers.


Most of the harvesting on Tuesday was done inside the village as access to the grounds east of the village was restricted on Monday after the army claimed that a youth from the village threw rocks at an Israeli car.


Despite the fact that the restriction was lifted on Tuesday, some of the farmers prefer to let the soldiers and settlers calm down for a few days.


Tyhal Shtyia, 70, was pleased with this year's harvest, but was concerned about the presence of her grandchildren, aged four, five, six, nine and 11. Their presence reminds her of the general strike throughout the Palestinian Authority, the children haven't been to school in over three months.


"Help us find a solution for them," she says, "our leaders are fighting amongst themselves while the children are stuck here with us. Get them back to school and we will handle the harvest ourselves."

Olive harvest underway in Salem (Photo: Ali Waked)


"This year it started well," says Ez a-Din Hamdan. "On the first day the soldiers let us all in and there was great joy, but then it rained and then this story with the rock yesterday. We haven't been there (the eastern grounds) for days. If we find out who threw the rock we'll kill him. But we're not even sure there even was a rock."


The chairman of the local municipality, Adeli Shtyia is also a little more pleased this year. He says that the IDF has been keeping the settlers from disrupting the harvest and allowing peace activists to assist the farmers with their harvest. He still mourns the uprooting of some 2,000 olive trees last season.


"All the uprooting cases were closed due to lack of evidence and public interest, once we found an ID belonging to a settler near one of the uprooted trees but that wasn't enough to arrest him," Shtyia lamented. 


When asked why the municipality couldn't pay for children's studies, Shtyia replied: "We don't have that kind of budget, the residents barely pay the five shekels we charge to collect the garbage. Subsidizing 25 teachers from the village would cost more than 50,000 shekels a month. I hope the crisis in the PA will be resolved, so that the teachers can go back to the schools as well as the children."




פרסום ראשון: 11.01.06, 02:31
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