Fire near Havat Gilad (Archives)
Photo: Zacharia Sida
Settlers fire at Palestinians in West Bank
Settlers, Palestinians blame each other for torching of fields, other violence during olive harvest

Palestinians and settlers accused each other Friday of trying to incite to violence that led to the torching of fields and shots fired in the West Bank.


Palestinian farmers from the village of Azmout complained that settlers from Elon Moreh opened fire on them while they were picking olives, but the settlers claimed they were attacked by Palestinians and leftists in the settlement. No one was injured.


In another incident, in Havat Gilad, Palestinians from Far'ata said settlers torched their fields. But the settlers claimed the fields belonged to one of the founders of the settlement, and that Palestinians had torched them in an effort to threaten their homes.


Meanwhile, the army has confiscated a truckload of materials used to build illegal structures in the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad.


Security forces pursued the truck to the area of Elon Moreh, where it was detained. Two settlers were arrested during the ensuing conflict.


A spokesman for Havat Gilad, Yehuda Shimon, said he was disappointed in the military. "Instead of the army handling the defense of the settlement and the prevention of such cases, we find ourselves dealing with torching attempts as well as the army on the issue of construction," he said.


But Palestinian farmers were, unsurprisingly, of the opposite view, saying the army was clearly cooperating with the settlers.


"All the talk ahead of the olive harvest on the intention to help and secure a peaceful harvest season were lies, and one big conspiracy," a spokesman for the Palestinian farmers said.


He added that the IDF had prevented firefighters from getting to the scene for over three hours.


"Not only did the soldiers refrain from preventing what the settlers were doing, by simply standing by and watching, but they also prevented Palestinian firefighters from arriving at the scene. In this manner they directly caused, by cooperating with the settlers, the torching of hundreds of olive trees," he said.


"When we arrive at our fields we don't find any trees or anything to harvest, and when there is something we find the settlers standing there armed, and have no ability to stop fires as occurred today."


Yair Altman contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 10.15.10, 13:54
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