On the 7th November settlers from Rechelim uprooted over 100 olive trees and sprayed racist graffiti in al-Asawiya near Yatma.
The graffiti on the village mosque said “Death to Arabs” and “Price Tag” in Hebrew.
The olive trees were planted on land belonging to Hamad Salih Mahmoud Hijazi, Salih Naser Gazi and Mustafa Ali.
It was only the previous week we, International Women’s Peace Service, had been picking olives with two families from al-Asawiya. Pleasant times (if a bit arduous in the beating sun!), sharing our limited language, drinking chay made on open fires and eating delicious picnics on the ground under the olive trees.
The olive crop is the main source of income for famers in the West Bank. Nearly half (48%) of the agricultural land in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) is planted with 8 million olive trees; the vast majority are in the West Bank.The olive oil industry makes up 14% of the agricultural income for the oPt and supports the livelihoods of approximately 80,000 families.
OTHER WEST BANK INCIDENTS
870 trees were uprooted or destroyed in the first week of the olive harvest, which starts around 5th October – see www.guardian.co.uk/2012/oct15/israel-olive-trees-settler-attacks.
I will send complete details of the destruction when OCHA have finished collating the data.
For a fact sheet on the olive harvest see http://www.ochaopt.org