Olive crops threatened

In October, Palestinians of the Israeli Occupied Territories will harvest the olive crop – or what remains of it. US based Palestine Centre, a research centre based in Washington DC, published a report earlier this year called When settlers attack. They recorded a 39% increase in incidents of settler violence from 2010 (with an average of 2.7 attacks each day in 2011) and a 315% increase in settler violence since 2007. These include physical attacks, intimidation, blocking access, vandalism and trespass.

Between January and September 2011, Israeli settlers uprooted, set fire to or otherwise vandalised 7,500 Palestinian-owned olive trees, according to OCHA. They damaged or destroyed an additional 1,600 Palestinian olive trees in October alone, up from 61 damaged in 2010’s harvest. The Palestine Centre report notes “a noticeable increase in the frequency and proportion of arson attacks employed by violent settlers”. This suggests that violent settlers are increasingly choosing this method of violence and will continue to do so.