This is Zionism: "agricultural holocaust" against olive trees

UPDATED
[ 07/10/2008 – 09:25 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian agriculture minister Dr. Mohammed Ramadan Al-Agha has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of carrying out an agricultural holocaust in Palestine with the aim to destroy the olive season for this year.

He cited the persistent aggressions of the Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers against the Palestinian farmers, especially in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and the occupied city of Jerusalem among other cities.

In a press conference he held in Gaza on the matter, Agha accused the Israeli occupation soldiers of assisting the settlers in blocking Palestinian farmers and denying them access to cultivate their farms.

He said that such Israeli practices would inflict big losses on olive producers this year that will also add to the losses inflicted on the farmers as a result of burning the olive trees and confiscating their lands at the hands of the IOF troops and the armed Israeli settlers.
But in spite of those Israeli measures against them, Agha asserted, the Palestinian farmers remained adherent to and steadfast on their lands, highlighting that the olive tree is considered “the land, the honor, the roots, and the history” for the Palestinian people.

He also stressed that his ministry would preserve the stability of the olive oil prices in the local market as it had done over the past two years by banning the importat of foreign olive oil.
The ministry also called on the Palestinian farmers to be vigilant, and not to be deceived by the Israeli traders who, according to Agha exploit the poor economic condition of the farmers and buy the olive oil at low prices before selling it in the foreign market at high price.
The Palestinian olive oil is known for its excellent quality, and classified to be one of the best in the world.

In this regard, Agha hailed foreign sympathizers for their support to the Palestinian farmers and for helping them in harvesting their olive groves, urging foreign and Arab charities to give the Palestinian olive oil priority in buying and marketing it in the local and foreign markets.

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IOF troops kidnap eight Palestinians, prevent farmers from harvesting olives

[ 08/10/2008 – 08:35 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The IOF troops kidnapped eight Palestinians from villages near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem and stopped farmers from reaching their land to harvest their olive crop.

Local sources in the village of Qaffin, to the north of Tulkarem, said that IOF troops kidnapped Qusai Ayed Hirsha (14 years) and Nabil Khasib (15) from their fields in Qaffin while they were helping their families harvest the olive crop.

In the village of Anabta, to the east of Tulkarem, the IOF troops kidnapped three youths from their homes on Wednesday at dawn; Muhammad Isam Nassar (17), Islam Abdel-Karim Ali (17) and Zaid Burhan Hamdallah (17).

The IOF troops also raided the homes of Zeyad Saadah and Izz Toum, but could not find them.

The IOF troops had earlier kidnapped Ersleen Sawalha from Dhennaba east of Tulakarem and who works as an accountant with a charity there. Ersleen is the sister of martyr Eyad Sawalha, one of the commanders of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin.

Two other young men were also kidnapped by the IOF troops on Tuesday from the village of Shufa south of Tulkarem; Musaab Ibrahim (23) and Ala’ Fathi Musa (26) after ransacking their homes.

Furthermore, the IOF troops stationed at the gates opposite Deir al-Ghsoun and Qaffin villages to the north of Tulkarem and the village of Kafr Sour to the south of Tulakarem barred Palestinian farmers from reaching their olive groves which lie beyond the apartheid wall under the pretext of the Jewish celebrations of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Palestinians who own land that lie behind the apartheid wall are barred from tending their fields and are only allowed to harvest their olive crop by applying for special permits (similar to pass laws during the era of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa). These permits are usually given to older people denying Palestinian families the help of their younger members during this important season.

Those people are also denied reaching their fields to plough them and clear them of weeds ahead of the olive season, which makes these fields prone to catching fire and affects the yield.

Settlers burn 3,000 olive trees in southern Nablus Contributed by Anonymous (Thank you, Kindly use a name)

ImageNablus / PNN – Fires set by Israeli settlers in southern Nablus olive groves are up this year, reports journalist Ali Daraghmeh. “This year settlers south of the city of Nablus burned about 3,000 olive trees. The settlers are also burning cars and beating farmers. This week four people were hospitalized.”

Ghassan, a local official in municipal affairs, described “masked gunmen attacking farmers in 33 basin areas in Salfit and 39 in Nablus.”

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are most often built on hills and then spread down. Palestinian agricultural lands are afflicted from the initial land confiscation to the eventual threat in the basin areas. Fields just beyond those overtaken are particularly dangerous.
Officials note that the coordination between the Israeli army and Palestinian residents does not provide security to the farmer. Ghassan said today, “The initial dates for protection were not abided under the pretext of the Jewish holidays and closures. We are in contact with each village under attack by settlements and monitor all ongoing damage. The reports go to the President and Prime Minister.”

The olive harvest season is meant to be a major source of income but yearly the obstacles increase. After the olives are picked they must be made into oil and taken to market, neither of which is undertaken without additional risk.

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