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Plowing Olive Groves under threat from settlers

MPTers were called to be present at two plowings in olive groves, this past week. The first was near Jit, but the Palestinian owner was from Kafr Qaddum. This grove of olive trees near the illegal Israel settlement of Qedumin had not been cared for for some time because of its proximity to this large settlement and the threat of danger from settlers. Israeli settlers have beaten, shot, and badly injured Palestinians who are working on Palestinian land near settlements.

About 8:30 a.m., the owner and MPTers walked up the verdant hillside to the olive grove where they were met by two Palestinian tree trimmers who cut branches with a chain saw and then stacked the wood.

The owner watches as his trees are trimmed. They are not in good condition
since he has been unable to care for them for sometime.

Soon a tractor with a Palestinian driver arrived to begin work and then a bit later two Palestinians with another tractor and wagon for hauling the wood came.

Spring rains, although sparse this year, have made the hills green and beautiful.

Only the larger logs are taken.

The tractor plowing the fields was followed by several white birds which have the appearance of small herons; they followed the tractor like ducks in a row, in order to eat the bugs plowed up from the soil.

Birds following the plow

As the plowing and trimming was being done, all were alert for the possible appearance of settlers. At one point the sheik came and with his long beard the MPTers at first mistook him for a settler.

The sheik gave advice about the trimming.

At about 11:30, the first one teenage settler appeared on the top of the hill to the east and soon there were 7 teenage boys watching from a distance.

A foreboding sign.

Increasing numbers of Isreali settler youth can cause much apprehension. There were 8 Palestinian men working below which may have deterred the youth. Settler youth can be more violent than settler adults since they are more immune from punishment.

When the work was completed, the owner drove the MPTers to Howwara where he brought them falafel sandwiches and juice at the Quicke Restaurant. The hospitality and graciousness of Palestinians is ever present even in the situation of occupation.

This restaurant is on the main street of the village of Huwwara.

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