Palestinian olive pickers repel settlers’ attack in Bethlehem

Days of Palestine – Bethlehem – A group of Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive trees in Bethlehem was attacked today, Saturday by a group of Israeli settlers, leaving four people with minor injuries, Palestinian officials said.

The attack, which comes amid an uptick in settler violence in recent months, began when Israeli settlers descended from a nearby settlement hurling stones and spraying pepper spray at Palestinian olive pickers near the town of Salfit, reported the official Palestinian Authority news agency, Wafa.

Read More: Kafr Qaddoum residents repel settlers attack and their attempt to steal olives

The director of the Office of the Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijieh, stated that the settlers of “Tqu’a” attacked the olive pickers in the Rakhma area, and tried to prevent them and force them to leave their lands, but the citizens repelled them.

It is noteworthy that the Israeli occupation forces had attacked olive pickers in the town of Tekoa, last Wednesday, including the Chargé d’Affairs of the South African Ambassador, by firing sound and gas bombs.

Read More: Israeli settlers rob Palestinian olive crops, harvest tools

It is noteworthy that the settlers’ attacks and targeting of citizens and their properties escalate with the beginning of the olive harvest season, sometimes by preventing them from reaching their lands, and other times through attacking and assaulting the citizens participating in this season, and sometimes by exterminating and chopping hundreds of olive trees in many areas in the West Bank Occupied, or theft of the olive crop as happens every year.

It is estimated that there are close to 8 million fruit-bearing olive trees in the Palestinian territories, producing an estimated 25,000 tonnes of olive oil per year. It is further estimated that around 100,000 families rely on olives for their main income.

Palestinians further see the olive tree as symbolizing their longevity and their resilience in their homeland. While some trees date back to the Roman era, one tree in Bethlehem is estimated to be 5500 years old and maybe the oldest olive tree in the world. It is likely to have been planted by the Canaanites. It is reported that Palestinians plant some 10,000 new olive trees a year, while Israel and settlers have destroyed more than an estimated one million trees.

The symbolism of the olive tree extends further than its monetary value. Yasser Arafat famously referred to the olive tree in his speech to the United Nations in 1974, when he pleaded, “Today, I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

(Source / 06.11.2021)

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