UN facts on the Olive harvest, 2011.

I feel it is important to make sure I add in some real facts, after all, I don’t want to be seen as an Olive tree fanatic.

I have been researching Israeli settler (illegal colonies of Zionist living on stolen land) attacks in 2011 and thought the most professional information to be used is the information collected by the United Nations.The fact added here are taken directly from United Nations reports, I will add the links at the end for further reading if wished.

‘Olive Harvest Factsheet. 2011’  United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory.

  •  About 45% of the agricultural land in the occupied Palestinian territory is planted with 12 million olive trees, the vast majority in the West Bank.
  •   The olive oil industry provides about one-quarter of the gross agricultural income in the occupied Palestinian territory and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 families.
  • 44 out of 66 Barrier gates are only open during the harvest season, impeding the regular maintenance of the groves and undermining their productivity.
  • Some 40% of applications for ‘visitor permits’ to access olive groves behind the Barrier, submitted by Palestinians on the eve of the 2010 harvest season, were rejected.
  •   In the vicinity of 55 Israeli settlements, Palestinian access to olive groves is limited to certain times during the harvest season, when Israeli forces are deployed on the ground.
  • Between January and September 2011, more than 7,500 olive trees belonging to Palestinians were uprooted, set on fire or otherwise vandalized by Israeli settlers.
  • Of 97 complaints about settler attacks against Palestinian trees, followed up by the Israeli NGO Yesh Din, none (zero) has so far led to the indictment of a suspect.
  • In the Gaza Strip, over 7,300 dunams of land along the perimeter fence with Israel, that were previously cultivated with olive trees have been leveled during Israeli incursions in recent years.

1.     A range of access and protection challenges has hindered the ability of Palestinians to earn their living from olive trees, particularly during the olive harvest season. The most problematic areas are olive groves located between the Barrier and the Green Line, in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, and along the perimeter fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.
2.     Thousands of farmers are denied access to their olive groves located between the Barrier and the Green Line due to ‘security reasons’ or inability to meet Israel’s criteria to prove a ‘connection to the land’. This is in spite of the fact that the Israeli authorities approve a larger number of permit applications than during the olive harvest than the rest of the year. Many Palestinians are discouraged from applying for permits as they have been refused in the past, and others refuse to apply as a matter of principle.
3.     The majority of the ‘agricultural gates’ along the Barrier (44 out of 66) are only open for a limited number of hours during harvest days. This restrictive opening prevents many farmers from carrying out essential al year round activities such as ploughing, pruning, and fertilizing, thus undermining the quality and quantity of the yield.
4.     In ‘friction areas’ around settlements, Palestinian access during the harvest is restricted to limited periods designated by the Israeli army. While this measure is intended to prevent settler attacks, it puts the onus of the limitations on the farmers, rather than on violent settlers, and is ineffective in preventing attacks against trees when soldiers are not present.
5.     A pervasive and long-standing lack of accountability is a key factor encouraging
settler violence, including in the context of the olive harvest. The large majority of complaints
filed with the Israeli Police following settler attacks are regularly closed without indictment.
6.     In the Gaza Strip, military activities in areas up to 1.5 km from the perimeter
fence with Israel have largely prevented thousands of families from accessing their olive trees. The majority of the trees in these areas were uprooted in recent years during land leveling operations. Farmers accessing the olive trees that remain in the area are often exposed
to ‘warning shots’ by Israeli forces deployed along the fence.

‘Israeli settler violence in the West Bank. November 2011’ United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory.

  • The weekly average of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage has increased by 40% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 165% compared to 2009.
  • The weekly average of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage has increased by 40% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 165% compared to 2009.
  • Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.

1. Violence by Israeli settlers undermines the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinians living under Israel’s prolonged military occupation. This violence includes physical assaults, harassment, takeover of and damage to private property, obstructed access to grazing and agricultural land, and attacks on livestock and agricultural land, among others.

2. In recent years, many attacks have been carried out by settlers living in settlement “outposts,” small satellite settlements built without official authorization, many on privately-owned Palestinian land. Since 2008, settlers have attacked Palestinians and their property as a means of discouraging the Israeli authorities from dismantling these outposts (the so-called “price tag” strategy).

3. the root cause of the settler violence phenomenon is Israel’s decades-long policy of illegally facilitating the settling of its citizens inside occupied Palestinian territory. This activity has resulted in the progressive takeover of Palestinian land, resources and transportation routes and has created two separate systems of rights and privileges, favoring Israeli citizens at the expense of the over 2.5 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Recent official efforts to retroactively legalize settler takeover of privately owned Palestinian land actively promotes
a culture of impunity that contributes to continued violence.
4. the Israeli authorities repeatedly fail to enforce the rule of law in response to Israeli settlers’ acts of violence against Palestinians. Israeli forces often fail to stop attacks and follow-up afterwards is inadequate or poorly conducted. Measures of the current system, including requiring Palestinians to file complaints at police stations located inside Israeli settlements, actively work against the rule of law by discouraging Palestinians from filing
complaints.
5. Under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, Israel is obligated to prevent attacks against civilians or their property and ensure that all incidents of setter violence are investigated in a thorough, impartial and independent manner.
http://www.ochaopt.org/…/ocha_opt_oliveharvest_FactSheet_October_2011
ww.ochaopt.org/…/ocha_opt_settler_violence_FactSheet_October_2011
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