In Northern Ontario and Quebec, Autumn is the start of harvesting the syrup from the maple trees. It’s also the beginning of what is known as ‘deer season’…. a time when the guns come down from their showcase above the mantle and prepared to shoot some unsuspecting stag or doe… A hunting license is required which allows one kill per season…

In Palestine it’s the start of the olive harvest …. a signal to the illegal settlers to get their guns ready for their kill as well…. only in this case the targets are human…. Palestinians. In this case, no license is required, it’s ‘open season’…. no limit on the kills or destruction of the trees themselves.

Read about it here….
The Olive Harvest: Open Season for Settler Violence
By Yousef

There are somethings we can be certain of. The sun will come up tomorrow. What goes up, must come down. But it is safe to say we can add to these reliable astronomical and physical certainties the fact that Israeli settlers will attack Palestinian civilians and their olive groves during the annual fall olive harvest. Sadly, like clockwork, we are witnessing this again.

The New York Times and the Washington Post both ran stories about this today. Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, is quoted in both articles. Here is an excerpt from the Post piece on what he said:

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said that the damages and theft of olives were “not a phenomenon” that was widespread and that there had been similar complaints by settlers reporting property damage by Palestinians. He said that investigations had been opened and several suspects questioned and released, but that no one had been charged.

Rosenfeld’s suggestion that such attacks are not a widespread phenomenon does not jive with the recorded facts. I’ve have authored a few posts on settler violence recently. Earlier this month I wrote about the use of arson as a settler tactic after a mosque was set on fire. Then, only last week when video surfaced of two Palestinian children being hit by an Israeli settler in a car, I wrote this post on how often Palestinian civilians become victims of vehicular assault. Our settler violence database allows us to also take a closer look into attacks around olive trees, the harvest and civilians during the harvest.

When I first presented the data in September, I mentioned how a spike in the violence occurs during the olive harvest and expected similar increases in violence this year. Below is a graph which shows this spike in the period just before to just after the olive harvest in 2009. What you are looking at is the number of attacks per week across the different governorates. Week 1 on the X-Axis corresponds to 9/15/2009-9/21/2009 and Week 9 corresponds to 11/10/2009 – 11/16/2009. The spike, which looks like a mountain in this instance because it is increased violence over a protracted period of time, reaches its peak during week 4, (10/6/2009-10/12/2009) almost exactly one year ago today. Also, you can clearly see that targets are located in various areas throughout the West Bank, with the heaviest volume occurring in Nablus and Qalqilya. Clearly, to say this is not a widespread phenomenon is to ignore reality. It is in fact a systematic, predictable, widespread phenomenon.

But I’d be wrong to suggest that settler violence targeting Palestinian civilians and their olive treas or other crops only occurs during the olive harvest season. Rather, attacks by settlers on Palestinian olive trees occur year round. What we see during the olive harvest is increased attacks against Palestinians who are out in the groves collecting olives. Often in vulnerable, rural areas where Israeli settlers can attack with little fear of being caught or stopped, Palestinian civilians fall prey to settler attacks more in this period. But when we look into attacks on the crops and trees themselves, we see that this is not limited only to the period of the harvest. In fact, when look at our data which covered 18 months from Jan. 2009 to Aug. 2010, only about 30% of attacks on olive trees and groves occur during the harvest (late Sept to early Nov). The rest of the attacks are distributed across the remainder of the year with a remarkable concentration in June and July, when 40% of attacks occur. Approximately 10% of all acts of settler violence captured in our database are against the olive trees and occasionally other forms of agriculture. With over 100 attacks on trees in an 18 month period, this comes out to an average of approximately 5.5 attacks on trees per month.

The attacks on the trees, a source of pride and livelihood for Palestinians, are perpetrated using different tactics. Arson is one, and it is involved in nearly half of the attacks on the trees. The other half is dominated by uprooting, which involves physically removing the trees from the earth using bulldozers.

Here are some examples:

  • On June 22rd, 2009, as the sun was coming up, Israeli Settlers from the Bat Ayin settlement set fire to land belonging to the village of Beit Ummar that was filled with fruit bearing trees. They also cut an additional 150 trees. This was one of three different settler attacks that day.
  • On October 3rd, 2009, at about 1P.M., settlers entered the land of the village of Qaryut in the Nablus governorate and set fire to land with fruit bearing trees. When Palestinians came to douse the flames, the settlers opened fire, preventing them. As a result, 150 trees were destroyed. This was one of two different settler attacks that day.
  • On Feb. 8th, 2010, at about 4P.M., settlers entered the area of Al-Baqa’a east of Hebron, cut down 80 trees and destroyed wiring and shacks on about 5 dunums of land belonging to a Palestinian civilian. This was one of four different settler attacks that day.

We know settlement of origin in about 43% of these cases. Settlers from the settlements of Ariel, Bat Ayin, Bracha, Eli, Elon Moreh, Hagai, Halmish, Havat Gilad, Kedumim, Kfar Etzion, Kfar Tappuah, Maon, Ma’ale Levona, Negohot, Sassia, Shavei Shomron, Shilo and Yitzhar have been involved in destroying Palestinian olive trees during this period. Those in bold have been most active against Palestinian olive trees.

The trees in or around 46 different Palestinian villages have been targeted during the period we analyzed, and they are too many to list here, but Jit, Khirbet Safa, Qaryut, Burin and Luban Ash-Sharqiyya are among the most targeted. A chart below shows the distribution of settler attacks against olive trees and groves across governorates.

So anyone who is trying to tell you that these attacks are isolated incidents, like the spokesman for the Israeli police, is probably trying to hide the fact that they are failing miserably, perhaps intentionally, to do their job in protecting Palestinian civilians and their property by preventing settler attacks. Settler violence prevents Palestinians from reaching significant portions of their most important agricultural product, and continues to be a threat to Palestinian civilians on each and every day of their lives.

Source via Uruknet


  1. October 14, 2010 at 11:22

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pascal Uccelli, Kelly. Kelly said: MAPLE SYRUP AND OLIVES: In Northern Ontario and Quebec, Autumn is the start of harvesting the syr… #flotilla #israel […]

  2. aufzuleiden said,

    October 14, 2010 at 15:50

    In Canada Maple Syrup is harvested in the Spring, not the Autumn. This has been the way of things since the time of the Native Indians generations ago, it is the way it is still done today. In the Autumn the “sap” is an entirely different consistency and is not appropriate for syrup – plus – the trees require it for sustenance throughout the winter months (it provides their nutrition during their hibernation – when they lose the ability to take in nutrients through the leaves they have lost during the fall).

    Wie viel ist Aufzuleiden!

  3. desertpeace said,

    October 14, 2010 at 17:05

    sheesh…. sorry son
    OK…. OK…. so it’s apples that are harvested in the autumn…. so I got some facts mixed up…. but I sorta liked the title of this post so forgive me.

  4. Vickie E. said,

    October 15, 2010 at 02:24

    Just another day in the literal human shooting gallery called the Gaza Strip.

    From “God’s Chosen” you know.

    God would not approve; but my “so called” Christian Zionist Murder supporters do. Shame on you all of you

    This is wrong; it is morally reprehensible

    Beware of false teachers they come to you like sheep; but inwardly they are ferocious wolves – they’ll tell you what your itching ears want to hear- Jesus

    If the shoe fits – Wear it

    There will be hell to pay
    There is zero other option

  5. John said,

    October 15, 2010 at 02:59

    These whimsical killings remind me of “Schindler’s List” in reverse, especially when from on high in his quarters, the German Officer took shots-to-kill at any prisioners that captured his fancy. I was wondering why I never before heard of any of these cruel and sadistic acts. Today it seems, these very scenes are really stories, drummed up in their own Israeli heads, about what they would do, had they the upper hand in comparable situations. Isn’t this what is actually going on everyday in Gaza, random killings for sport?

  6. Ohm51 said,

    October 16, 2010 at 15:13

    Among the innumerable outrageous acts committed by the Settler Sons of Zionism this is one of the more baleful acts of sacrilege – this assault on The Olive Trees – that which God had ordained might provide succor to all — shade from the fierce desert sun – the oil that was prized in {their own} Jewish traditions – to light the way – a modest fruit and foodstuff — this was livelihood to all at one point – but now the sole sustenance for many Palestinians.

    Think of how well a Palestinian farmer might know his trees, the history of the grove & the genealogies of those that tended them – how that farmer survived from what he had learned at the hands of his father, and grandfathers; his hopes {even today} that he might pass down the physical groves and legacy of the olives to his own sons.

    So to witness such a wanton act of destruction in their uprooting must be like getting your very own heart {ones past, present, future} ripped and torn from your chest – all-at-once.

    I am reminded of how the US applied a similar stratagem to the Native Americans, when they could not be pushed from their land or quelled – they attacked that which provided their sustenance, and slaughtered the Buffalo.

    An evil act – just as this is – and those who commit it demonstrate the wickedness of their hearts and the bankruptcy of their souls.

    It seems particularly telling for the Settlers to choose that whose branch is a symbol of peace, and cruelly ironic for Israeli Jews, who are always droning on about ‘existential threats’ – to turn the survival of the Palestinian olive groves into ‘existential weapons’.

    Born of the sun and soil and rooted in the traditions of that land for generations – For the enduring olive trees to be torn asunder and ripped from the very bosom of existence by Jewish hands – Well, I am sure that symbolism is not lost on the Palestinians.

    That which … slouches toward Bethlehem.

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