donderdag 23 oktober 2008

Leger beschermt Palestijnen tegen kolonisten tijdens olijvenoogst

Vredesactivisten en ook de Haaretz beweren dat Israel niets onderneemt tegen kolonisten die Palestijnen aanvallen en/of hun olijfbomen vernielen. Het leger heeft zich wel degelijk voorbereid op de olijfoogst van dit jaar en op verschillende plaatsen troepen gestationeerd om beide partijen uit elkaar te houden en om de Palestijnen te beschermen. Of het genoeg is, is een andere vraag. Ik begrijp niet goed waarom niet veel meer van deze, met name jongeren, worden gearresteerd. In de weken voor de oogst zou het leger in de nederzettingen kunnen vertellen dat men hard op zal treden tegen geweld van beide kanten, en men zou met lokale leiders van beide kanten afspraken kunnen maken.

The Jerusalem Post
Oct 22, 2008 14:12 | Updated Oct 22, 2008 19:42
Soldier wounded by settlers in W. Bank
An IDF soldier was wounded Wednesday after he was attacked by a group of masked far-right Israeli activists while his unit was protecting Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive trees near the settlement of Otniel in the southern Hebron Hills.

The IDF said that 10 right-wing activists wearing masks and carrying clubs appeared in the olive grove and attacked the group of soldiers stationed there to protect the Palestinian farmers. One of the soldiers was lightly wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Jerusalem.

One of the right-wing activists was also wounded after he tried to grab one of the soldiers' rifles and was hurt in the ensuing clash.

The IDF and the Israel Police scoured the area for the perpetrators but no arrests had been made by early Wednesday afternoon.

In related news, police arrested two settlers suspected of attacking Palestinians and several reporters while the Palestinians harvested olives in the Hebron neighborhood of Tel Rumeida on Saturday, Israel Radio reported.

The suspects are residents of Braha, a settlement in Samaria, and of Hebron.

The two, including a minor, turned themselves into police. Police are expected to ask the court to extend their remands.

Also on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad visited the West Bank village of Mazra'a al-Qubliya, near Ramallah, to help Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest.

Earlier this week, a top IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post that there had been close to 20 violent clashes between Jewish settlers and Palestinian farmers since the olive harvest in the West Bank began earlier this month making the 2008 harvest one of the most violent in recent years.

"There is more violence this year than in 2007 and there is on average about one incident a year," the officer said, adding that the IDF and Civil Administration were doing their utmost to ensure smooth harvesting for Palestinian farmers.

On Saturday, settlers from the Jewish community in Hebron clashed with Palestinian farmers. Three left-wing activists were arrested following the incident for allegedly violating an order that had turned the Tel Rumeida area into a closed military zone.

According to the officer, before the season began, the IDF mapped out the different "hot spots" in the West Bank where violence between settlers and farmers was likely to erupt.

"We cannot station soldiers and policemen next to every olive tree," the officer said. "The IDF identified the traditional hot spots as well as those that it assessed could flare up and decided to put the focus there. But even in those places, it is impossible to be there 24 hours a day."

The officer said that the IDF was not surprised by the rise in violence this year and had felt - in its assessments prior to the harvest - that both sides were more radical and likely to clash in comparison to last year.

"We were prepared that there would be more incidents this year," he said. "There was a feeling in the air that this would happen on both sides - the settlers and the Palestinians." staff contributed to this report.

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