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Maan: Clashes over olive harvest begin in Ni’lin, continue near Hebron

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Ni’lin – Ma’an – Settlers near Ramallah in the central West Bank and Hebron in the south clashed with Palestinians and peace activists as they sought to harvest olives from areas confiscated by Israel. Both incidents occurred on Friday, the last day of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

In Ni’lin, a Palestinian town north of Ramallah, a group of international and Israeli activists clashed with Israeli settlers as they accompanied Palestinians from the village of Ni’lin to their lands on the far side of the separation wall in order to harvest the olives from village trees.

About 40 activists clashed with as many settlers. The latter claim that the olive grove that was to be harvested does not indeed belong to the Ni’lin family that went to harvest the fruits. The settlers tried to prevent the activists and the Palestinian family from reaching the trees.

Some of the setters later claimed that a peace activist attacked the wife of rightist settler Itamar Ben-Gvir, who brought her young son to the demonstration. Details of the attack are unclear, and no injuries were documented. The activist charged with the attack was reported to have told the Israeli press that the mother had insulted him prior to his act against her.

In Ni’lin Dr Mustafa Al-Barghouthi told Ma’an that Palestinians and activists were able to drive the settlers away from the olive grove and harvest the fruits belonging to the family.

In Hebron, settlers attacked peace activists from Rabbis for Human Rights as they stood protecting a group of Palestinians harvesting olives in a nearby field.

According to Israeli media sources Israeli police tried to halt the settlers who were attempting to drive the farmers off the land.

Rabbis for Human Rights said they would be going to 40 different Palestinian villages during this olive harvest season to ensure that Israeli settlers and police do not harm the Palestinian families who go into their fields and village lands to pick the olives from the trees.

For several years international and Israeli peace activists have travelled to Palestine to help local farmers harvest olives from groves and fields that have been confiscated, or effectively confiscated, by Israel. Some fields abut Israeli settlements and farmers cannot go near them without fear of being harassed or injured.

Also on Friday in Al-Ma’sara, an area southeast of Bethlehem, clashes erupted between the Israeli army and activists as the latter marched in the village in a regular protest against the wall. The march came on the eighth anniversary of the death of the young Palestinian Mohammad Ad-Durra on the same sight.