[News] Palestine: Jewish Settlers Torch 100 of World's Oldest Olive Trees
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 25 16:49:01 EST 2018
Palestine: Jewish Settlers Torch 100 of World's Oldest Olive Trees
Tabatha Kinder - January 25, 2018
Israeli settlers in the northern occupied West Bank have razed to the
ground huge swathes of Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the town
of Huwara, according to reports.
The fields were set on fire by "masked settlers", Al-Resalah newspaper
who snuck on to the land and poured petrol on it before setting it
alight. Around 100 olive trees were destroyed in the blaze, which spread
as locals were prevented from attending the fire by Israeli forces.
Olive trees in Israel hold vast religious and cultural significance to
both Jews and Palestinians. As well as being the livelihood of many
Palestinian farmers, the trees are thought to be the "oldest on Earth"
are mentioned in the Old Testament numerous times.
Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane near the Old City of Jerusalem
are believed to be up to 900 years old and belong to the same lineage as
the olive trees among which Jesus Christ prayed the night before his
The mayor of Huwara said that Israeli occupation forces prevented
Palestinian citizens from reaching the lands in order to extinguish the
However the Jewish press in Israel is reporting that the cause of the
fires is unknown and Israeli and Palestinian fire crews "worked
together" to put out the blaze.The Jerusalem Post
that police are investigating the incident.
*Clashes in harvest season*
In previous weeks, the owners of the fields have also reportedly being
banned from working the land without being escorted by occupation
forces, which means they have been unable to harvest the olive trees.
Huwara has witnessed continuous clashes between Israeli settlers and
Palestinians due to its proximity to the Yitzhar settlement, where
around 20,000 Jewish people live in 39 Jewish-only settlements.
"Palestinian residents, for their part, complain of repeated attacks by
settlers, who usually enjoy the protection of Israeli military
personnel", Anadolu news agency reports.
Attacks on agricultural land are widespread at this time of year – the
start of the olive harvest season – and several Palestinian towns have
seen their crops stolen, olive trees cut and lands confiscated, says
Middle East Monitor.
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