Days of Palestine – Ramallah – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today, Wednesday, has called to permit Palestinian farmers to have safe and timely access to their olive fields in the West Bank during the olive season.
A statement issued by ICRC said that call comes amid a triple challenge faced Palestinian farmers and their families in the West Bank represented in the restrictions imposed on owners of fields located behind the separation wall and near settlements.
They added that the second challenge is the increase in harassment and violence by Israeli settlers and outposts towards farmers and their properties, which increases significantly during the olive harvest season, in addition to the third challenge, which is the increasing effects of climate change.
According to the statement, settlers destroyed more than 9,000 trees in the West Bank from August 2020 until last August.
“The step complicates the difficult situation and deepens the crisis, as farmers whose fields are located behind the separation wall or near settlements must apply for special permits and pre-coordinated in order to access their lands,” They pointed out.
The statement quoted Mr. Daniel Duvillard, the head of the ICRC delegation in Jerusalem, as saying that the committee had noticed over the years a “seasonal rise in violence” committed by settlers against farmers and their properties in the period leading up to the olive harvest, as well as during the season.
He added that farmers are facing harassment and violence aimed at preventing harvesting, in addition to destroying agricultural equipment and uprooting and burning olive trees.
The statement added that climate change indicators have exacerbated the crisis for farmers, as the year 2020 witnessed a 55 percent drop in the olive harvest.
(Source / 14.10.2021)