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First olive harvest in seven years (updated)

Today a collaboration of Palestinian farmers, human rights workers and Israeli activists converged at the Jabri family farm in Hebron to commence the annual olive harvest.

The Jabri family farm, situated in a corridor between two illegal Israeli settlements, has been subject to a history of settler violence- such as the recent attacks seen on 31st August 2007, when settlers attacked a group of 40 Palestinians, Israelis, and various other human rights workers – punching, kicking, throwing stones and stealing tools. Today was the first time the family has returned to the farm since this attack, as there have been ongoing concerns about the possibility of further violence.

The olive harvest, which was to take place in a few weeks’ time, was brought forward in response to reports that settlers were stealing olives from the trees.

The olive picking began without incident, with Israeli police and Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) lining the farm’s entrances and settler security officers filming the harvest. After a few hours settler children and youths began obstructing the illegal settler footpath that bisects the Jabri property, actively preventing Palestinian filming of the process. One settler youth, trespassing, then began to grab olives from a tree, flinging them away so that the owners could not pick them. A complaint was lodged with the police, who temporarily arrested the boy and then remained on site to observe the rest of the harvest.

Despite the heavy security presence, settler children threw rocks at Palestinians, from within the illegal compound, as the farmers and their families tried to leave.