Five human rights groups on Thursday penned an urgent letter to the IDF and the police urging security forces to do more to protect Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank.
Although the olive harvest only began on Wednesday, there have been a high number of vandalism incidents this week starting on Sunday, said B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli.
Her organization – along with Rabbis for Human Rights, Yesh Din, Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Hamoked – plan to send their letter to the security forces in the coming days.
On Thursday B’Tselem issued a brief report in which it said that on Sunday 25 old olive trees were destroyed in an area West of Ramallah on land belonging to the Abu Fahaida family.
Separately, in the same region, 10 masked settlers near the Nahliel settlement stoned farmers from the Beitillu village when they went to work their olive fields, according to B’Tselem. It also alleged that settlers set fire to the field. The organization provided a short, roughly shot video of the incident.
In addition, according to B’Tselem, on Tuesday Palestinian farmers from the villages of Farata and Amatin, west of Nablus, found that thieves had stolen olives from 220 trees. Also on Tuesday, according to the organization, Palestinians from the village of Qaryut discovered that more than 80 olive trees had been vandalized. And on Wednesday, the group alleges, 140 olive trees belonging to two Palestinian farmers from the Mughayir village were vandalized.
A security source said that the IDF, the Border Police and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria were working around the clock to prevent such vandalism and incidents of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. It is also making use of undercover officers.
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