Photo: Zacharia Sadeh
Felled olive trees
Photo: Zacharia Sadeh

Dozens of olive trees destroyed in West Bank in run-up to harvest

Trees destroyed in two locations in northern West Bankin suspected price tag attacks; Hebrew graffiti discovered at one site; settler leader: This is blood libel by far-left groups trying to frame us.

Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf on Monday morning discovered that dozens of their mature olive trees have been felled in a suspected "price tag" attack. Hebrew graffiti sprayed on nearby rocks.



It is unclear when the trees had been cut down, but the discovery comes in the immediate run-up to the harvest season. Israeli police officers and officials from the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) attended the scene.


Members of the village said that forensic police officers had been at the site to gather evidence.


Felled trees in Yasuf (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh) (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh)
Felled trees in Yasuf (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh)

The destroyed trees were discovered by local resident Ghazi Atiani, who contacted the District Coordination Office of the Palestinian Authority, which in turn informed its Israeli counterpart of the incident.


The Palestinians believe that the trees were cut down in recent days, as the severed olive branches are still fresh and green.

Attack in Yasuf (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh) (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh)
Attack in Yasuf (Photo: Zacharia Sadeh)


In recent years, the harvest season in the West Bank has become period of heightened tension, during which numerous hate crimes are committed.


Meanwhile, another 15 olive trees were found to have been vandalized in the nearby village of Burin, which also is located close to the settlements of Ariel and Kfar Tapuah. Olives had also been stripped from the trees, the residents of the village said.

Vandalized trees in Burin (Photo: Israel Police)  (Photo: Israel Police)
Vandalized trees in Burin (Photo: Israel Police)

Police officers were also sent to Burin to separate Palestinians and settlers.


The settlers claim that the Palestinians had been pruning the olive trees as part of the harvest season, and that leftist Israelis had used the cuttings to make accusations of "blood libel" against the settlers.


"The harvest season has become a firebrand season," said Gershon Mesika, the head of Shomron Regional Council. "Far-left organizations have turned the blood libel made against the Jews of Europe at Passover into a modern blood libel".


He charged that, "every year before Sukkot the residents of Burin and the surrounding area go out in the middle of the night to cut the branches of the olive trees, and claim that it was done by the Jews."


Mesika urged police to investigate and severely punish "those behind these annual provocations."



A spokesperson from the Yesh Din organization said that, "the Palestinians were working there as part of their harvest, in full coordination with the army, when they discovered the destruction of the trees."



פרסום ראשון: 10.06.14, 15:45
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