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Settlers and army disrupted olive harvest in Jamma’in village

15 October 2009

For a week between 9 and 15 October, ISM activists have accompanied a group of families from the village of Jamma’in, picking in olive fields located just south of highway 505 and close to a large outpost of the Kfar Tappuah illegal settlement. The Palestinian farmers here have had problems with settlers annually for the last seven years and this one was no exception.

This year the harvest began on Friday, 9 October, and already on the first day the local settlers showed up on the farmers’ land. At about 1pm a settler came very close to the trees where the farmers were picking. The man was carrying an iron chain and had two unleashed dogs with him, a German shepherd and a border collie. He didn’t react to the ISM activists and the Palestinians telling him to leave, and instead he continued walking through the olive grove, trying to confront some of the Palestinian men, at one point attempting to punch one of them. He left the area eventually.

At about 9am on Saturday morning three settlers showed up in the olive grove. They tried to start a conflict, telling the Palestinian families to leave their land. After about 15 minutes, they were joined by five more settlers, all armed with M-16 riffles, along with another armed man, supposedly a settlement security guard. After a short attempt to escalate the situation, they left when a group of Israeli soldiers arrived.

The rest of the week passed without any more problems with settlers, but while the Palestinians were picking olives on Tuesday, the Israeli army cut off the road to the village. The road was already a bypass road as the main road from highway 505 to Jamma’in was blocked during the Second Intifada. The new bypass road adds about 20 minutes to the already prolonged journey between the village and the villagers’ land.