Olive Tree

In every part of the world, harvest is a season of happiness and jubilation.  But not in Palestine, where the olive picking season is often known as the "Israeli settlers' violence season." 

Zionist settlers living on various portions of occupied West Bank purposely wait for the harvest season to arrive.  It's the time of the year they select to vandalize the olive fields owned by Palestinian farmers, uprooting the trees and setting them on fire to cause maximum harm as the farmers make their living by harvesting olive crops.  Olive orchards are attacked by masked and armed Jewish settlers all over the West Bank in the harvest season. There are more than 500,000 illegal Jewish settlers throughout the West Bank. 

Vicious attacks on olive orchards aren't a recent trend.  They've been going on for decades soon after the occupation of West Bank.  According to observers, nothing less than 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted or set on fire since 1967.  Palestinian security forces are not authorized to protect the olive orchards from settlers' violence.  Israeli police and military, far from protecting the farmers, protect the settlers who commit arson.  Not to mention, it's a clear violation of international law according to which Israeli authorities are responsible for the well-being of Palestinians and the protection of their properties in occupied territories.  The Israeli Government has never uttered a word of condemnation against the systematic destruction of olive orchards by Jewish settlers, let alone taking steps to prevent this ongoing vandalism.

Al-Jazeera states, "The ancient olive trees are regarded by Palestinians as a symbol of their connection to the land."  Oxfam confirms, “Olives are the area’s most important crop, whose oil is exported around the globe and whose annual harvest is a crucial source of income for about 100,000 farming families."  One can imagine the huge financial loss and emotional trauma the Palestinian farmers suffer every year.  One cannot forget the words of Mahmud Darwish, "If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would become tears."

The most recent attacks during this year's harvest season were in September and mid October in Nablus and Ramallah, respectively, causing total destruction of hundreds of olive trees.