*NEW* Search Our Team Reports! Type a word/phrase in the box below (hint: try "settlers').


Settler Threats to the Olive Harvest in Jamma'in

Olive groves cover the hills of this part of Palestine.
This pastoral scene is a site of contention
between Palestinians and illegal Israeli settlements.
(Click on picture to enlarge)
One MPTer and other internationals assisted with the olive harvest near the Jamma’in village, which has suffered harassment by Israeli settlers and frequent Israeli military invasions in the last couple of years. This village of over 6,000 is near two illegal Israeli settlements, Ariel, the largest settlement in Palestine and Kfar-Tappuah. Jamma’in is in Area B [Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control], so Palestinians are not allowed to build homes. The school cannot expand to meet growing population needs; thus often fifty children are taught in a very small classroom.

Since 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces have maintained a roadblock which prevents vehicular traffic in and out of the village along the main road. [See www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsNm2WSUTio This video was taken by Machsum Watch, an Israeli checkpoint watch organization.]

On the third day MPT joined other internationals in accompanying the village farmers harvesting the olives in this area. One of the internationals who had been with the farmers for the previous two days, recounted her experience to MPT.

Israeli outpost east of grove.

Largest illegal Israeli settlement, Ariel, to the west of the grove.

The olive trees grow on terraces built
into a rugged rocky hillside.

The first day an Israeli settler with an automatic rifle walked into the grove, flexed his muscles and shouted that the land was his. The international said that the settler looked scared, but terrifying as he strutted toward the internationals and then through part of the grove near the farmers picking olives shouting that the land was Israeli. The second day several Israeli settlers armed with M-16s came to the olive grove, and Palestinians “armed” themselves with stones and sticks, but there was no occurrence of physical violence. The settlers said the Palestinians could stay, but demanded that the internationals leave. The settlers claimed that the land was theirs. The internationals called a contact who phoned the Israeli Occupation Forces who sent several soldiers in about 10-15 minutes who asked the settlers to leave, which they did.

The third day internationals, including an MPTer, took turns on a high spot to observe the outpost and settlements in the distance in order to warn of approaching settlers. No settlers came, much to the joy of everyone. The three internationals were joined by 3 Israelis with Rabbis for Human Rights, including a married couple who were helping Palestinians with the olive harvest for the first time.
The Israeli couple were first-timers working with Palestinians
in the olive harvest.

MPT picks olives in those groves where there is a threat of violence by settlers or the army. All were grateful that there had been no incident of violence this day.

No comments: