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October 09, 2012

Ma'an's Mysterious Eye Witnesses to Olive Vandalism

Qaryut olives zuma.jpg
A Palestinian farmer is pictured today with a destroyed olive tree in Qaryut (Photo by Nedal Eshtayah /ZUMA photos)

As this year's West Bank olive harvest begins, so do the allegations of settlers vandalizing trees. AFP's story today about uprooted trees in Qaryut, near Nablus, is reasonably cautious. It does not state as fact that settlers from Eli are responsible; rather it reports Palestinian allegations that they are. AFP reports:

Residents of Qaryut village 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of Nablus blamed the attack on settlers from the neighbouring settlement of Eli.

“More than 70 old olive trees were cut down by settlers on land near the Eli settlement,? said Abdel Nasser Qaryuti, head of the village council.

No-one witnessed the attack, but he said the villagers had been the target of similar attacks from local settlers in the past. (Emphasis added.)

While AFP says there were no witnesses, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency later claims that there were. Maan reports:

Eyewitnesses said the settlers used chainsaws to destroy the trees, which belonged to 12 farmers in the village of Qaryut.

Past cases underscore the need for careful reporting on alleged settler attacks on olive trees. As reported in 2006 by Maariv:

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.

Posted by TS at October 9, 2012 08:23 AM


There is another angel here as well, a media crime of omission.

Arabs vandalized over a hundred Jewish-owned olive trees.

Posted by: Elder of Ziyon at October 11, 2012 12:38 PM

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