The War of the Olive Groves

November 1st, 2008 - by admin

Wafa Amr / Reuters – 2008-11-01 22:40:45

Palestinians Won’t Be Driven Off Says Fayyad
Wafa Amr / Reuters

(October 22, 2008) — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad joined West Bank farmers to pick olives on Wednesday and slammed assaults by Jewish settlers on the harvesters as “terrorism.”

Fayyad rolled up his shirt sleeves and climbed up a ladder to help an old woman pluck olives from her tree in Mazra al-Gharbiyeh, a village north of the West Bank city of Ramallah which is surrounded by Jewish settlements.

His visit was “a clear message that we are here to stay,” the Palestinian premier said.

“The settlers being here in itself is illegitimate. And on top of that they engage in acts of violence against our citizens, particularly at this time of year when they pick olives, with all that the olive tree signifies to our people,” Fayyad told Reuters.

“This is nothing short of terrorism by the settlers.”

Fayyad said the olive tree was not only a source of income for most Palestinians, but more importantly a “symbol of the determination of the Palestinian people to stay on their land and to preserve and defend it.”

About 300,000 Jews live in settlements built by Israel in occupied West Bank land captured in the 1967 Six Day war.

Settlement expansion has seriously obstructed U.S.-sponsored peace talks. The Palestinians say they cannot achieve a viable, contiguous state of their own alongside Israel if the territory they secure is riddled with Jewish settlements and outposts.

Palestinians, the United Nations and Israeli leaders have expressed concern in the past month about an increase in violence by hardline Jewish settlers, who believe they have a divine right to the land.

The violence is seen partly as a warning to the Israeli government that some settlers will not go quietly if Israel agrees to return West Bank land as part of a peace settlement of the 60-year-old conflict.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday “the assaults by hooligans in the area … deserve condemnation,” but Israeli troops could not be everywhere to protect harvesters.

Israel had deployed forces to permit the harvest to proceed in peace, Barak told Israeli Army Radio. But Palestinians say the army does little to stop settler assaults and often breaks up clashes by forcing the farmers to leave the area.

An editorial in the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday said Barak was offering a “dubious excuse” for what it considered criminal failure to uphold the law.

Settlers had been “stealing the land of powerless farmers for decades” and were not averse to stealing their fruit as well. “This year, as every year, fairly small groups manage to reach the olive groves, where they beat, steal then return home safely,” the paper said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday condemned settler attacks and pledged to fund the planting of a million trees to make the rocky West Bank terrain greener.

(Editing by Douglas Hamilton)

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Save Ush Ghrab from Colonial Encroachment
George N. Rishmawi / Rapprochement Palestine

Positively affirm our connections to our lands,

(October 10, 2008) — People in Beit Sahour and the surrounding towns and villages will join together in activities that connect us to the land of Ush Ghrab where settlers want to take over. We will join hands again to show the power of nonviolent resistance and affirmation of our rights. Join us in one or all of these activities:

Monday 13th : At 4 PM, A nature gathering at Ush Ghrab, Music playing and more. At 6 PM a meeting to design strategies and plan actions.

Wednesday 15th, 7 PM: A gathering in the park where we will hear a history of the areas around Beit Sahour and Israeli colonial settler activities followed by discussion of forms of resistance to these activities. There will also be a concert with music by the Edward Said Conservatory band members.

Thursday 16th: This is a day where we expect some settlers to visit the area beginning at 1 PM but we will avoid any confrontation. Instead, we will begin our activities in Ush Ghrab at 11 AM with nature walks including bird watching activities for the whole family talks by scientists about the nature and tree planting activities (you can help by donating tree saplings).

At 2 PM we will have different congregations holding prayers for peace at the site. Church and Mosque attendees have been invited. This will be followed at 2 PM with Marching bands. Food will be available.

• Join us as we assert our rights and celebrate our connections to our lands.

Sponsored and endorsed by all civil and religious organizations

More details about Ush Ghrab can be found here
Video of previous activities at the site

And in Text at

The settler group taht is trying to take over the land has a website here: