Israeli settlers shout abuses from behind a fence at
Palestinian farmers (foreground) in a village in the occupied
West Bank on October 9, 2011.
Israeli extremists attack Palestinian farmers again, injuring three of them and spoiling their olive harvest in the occupied West Bank.
On Sunday, dozens of armed Israeli settlers attacked some 50 farmers as they were trying to harvest their olive produce in the city of Nablus in northwestern West Bank, AFP reported. The Palestinian farmers fought back, but were later outnumbered with more and more Jewish settlers coming to reinforce the attackers.
An Israeli Army spokeswoman confirmed that one Palestinian had been injured in clashes with settlers. Downplaying the nature of the attack, however, she said, "It's the start of the olive picking season so there were clashes."
Since the beginning of September, at least 3,000 olive trees and grape vines owned by Palestinians have been cut or burned by Israeli extremists, according to the latest statistics released by the Palestinian Authority. Olive oil is regarded as the backbone of the Palestinian economy, being the second major export item in the Israel-occupied territories.
"Just as my father said, olives trees are like our children and growing olive trees is like raising children," said Souhail Khalaf, a local farmer of a small Palestinian village in Nablus. Human rights groups and local Palestinians have said at least 69 complaints had been filed over the past four years about the damage done by Israeli extremists to the Palestinian-owned trees.
A high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer recently admitted that there had been a dramatic increase in the acts of violence and destruction committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Tel Aviv occupied and then annexed the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) -- the promised capital of any future Palestinian state -- in the Six-Day War of 1967, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.