Saturday, October 22, 2011


Looking for a shorter post from Scission.  Well, here it is.  It is short and not sweet.  It is one more aspect of life under Israeli occupation, one you don't read much about.  Occupation, you see, touches every aspect of life for those who are the occupied.  We throw "occupy" around quite a bit these days, but in this Scission post, and the one below one learns what  the word can really mean.

The following is from the Ma'an News Agency.

Oxfam: Settlers cost farmers over $500,000 this harvest
Today (Last Update) Time 15:02

Jewish settlers shout as Israeli border police officers escort Palestinian farmers
from the village of Awarta out of their olive grove, which is fenced in by the
Jewish settlement of Itamar, near Nablus on Oct. 9 (Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers have cost Palestinian farmers over $500,000 this year by destroying olive trees in the West Bank, Oxfam and local organizations warned Thursday.

Oxfam, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees estimated that olives collected this year would produce half the oil of the 2010 harvest, a statement from Oxfam said.

"Burning an olive tree is like burning a farmer’s bank account," said Oxfam director Jeremy Hobbs.

"Over 100,000 Palestinian families depend on the money they earn during harvest season. Especially because this is a bad harvest, every olive counts."

Oxfam says over 2,500 olive trees were destroyed in September, and 7,500 this year. Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy, the international organization estimates.

In 97 incidents of tree destruction documented between 2005 and 2010, no court cases have yet been brought against culprits, according to research by Israeli NGO Yesh Din, the release said.

Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees advocacy director Munjed Abu Jaish urged Israeli authorities to "stop protecting and supporting the settlers over Palestinians.

"Israeli settlers must understand that they are not above the law."

Aside from settler attacks, tens of thousands of olive trees have been uprooted to make way for Israel's wall, and nearly one million more are caught between the illegal wall and the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank. Thousands more trees are off limits to farmers because they are close to illegal settlements in the West Bank, Oxfam notes.

Union of Agricultural Work Committees official Omar Tabakhna says farmers don't want to be dependent on aid handouts.

"They want to work on their land and earn money from a product they are proud of. In order for them to do this, we must ensure that their rights are upheld."

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