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December 05, 2006

Palestinians cutting olive trees and blaming settlers?

Next time you see a report about Israeli settlers allegedly cutting down Palestinian olive trees, demand the proof and send the editor a copy of the following article which details how an Arab olive grove owner enlisted Palestinians to cut down his own trees in order to receive compensation from Israeli authorities:

Inspectors catch Palestinians cutting olive trees;

Cutting trees and blaming the settlers?

by Tal Yamin-Walbowitz
Maariv website (Maariv NRG) 22 November 2006
[Translation by IMRA]

Inspectors caught Palestinian youths in the act as they were cutting olive
trees, claiming they did it at the request of the owner of the grove. The
police suspect that he did it for compensation. Now additional Palestinian
complaints will be investigated

Are the settlers hurting the Palestinians or are the Palestinians hurting
themselves? Frequently Palestinians farmers complain that settlers cut their trees and hurt them and their livelihoods. At times even IDF soldiers and police had to protect the Palestinians farmers in the territories during the olive harvest season. But the police suspect now that in some cases the
Palestinians themselves are the ones cutting the trees and then blaming the
settlers and demanding compensation from the Civil Authority.

Foresters of the JNF patrolling the Shaar Efraim area today noticed to their
surprise a number of Palestinians cutting olive trees in violation of the
law as they were damaging scores of olive trees. The foresters hurried to
call the police who arrived and held four of them for questioning.

The four were transferred to the police station in Kedumim and in their
interrogation they said that the owner of the property invited them to cut
the trees for firewood. A police spokesman for the Judea-Samaria District,
Superintendent Pintzi Mor, told Maariv NRG that the owner of the area would
be called in for questioning.

Sources in the police said that over the years the police have experienced a
phenomenon of the filing of complaints to the Civil Authority regarding the
destruction of olive trees, along with a claim for financial compensation.
In the last year alone the Palestinians in the area of Judea and Samaria
filed claims for 350 thousand shekels for the destruction of olive trees.

The police now intend to check the complaints in detail. A senior source in
the police told Maariv NRG that "most of the complaints for damage to olive
trees were filed in recent years at the end of the harvest season or
towards the end, something that increases the suspicion that this is a cooked deal."

Posted by LG at December 5, 2006 03:16 PM


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